Canada’s Workers Compensation Boards should return over $5 billion in excess funds
Calgary, May 10, 2022 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on workers’ compensation boards (WCBs) across Canada to rebate surplus funds back to small business owners and legislate surplus rebates.
According to CFIB’s latest research snapshot, Workers’ Compensation and Surplus Distributions: A Small Business Perspective, seven provincial and territorial boards are in an over-funded position, meaning boards have exceeded their desired funding target, and only one has legislated its surplus rebate.
While seven boards across Canada, including Alberta, have rebate policies, Ontario is the first and only province to legislate mandatory rebates when overfunding reaches a certain level. CFIB is calling on the Alberta government to follow Ontario’s example and legislate the WCB refund policy to ensure certainty and consistency for small business owners.
“Although WCB Alberta provided a 50% per cent rebate in 2020 and has a policy to rebate excess funds this is merely a discretionary policy,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director. “We are therefore calling on the Alberta government to follow Ontario’s lead and legislate surplus rebates.”
British Columbia’s workers’ compensation board was among the most over-funded: its assets were 153% higher than its liabilities, while its targeted funding ratio is set at 130%. In British Columbia, rebating excess funds could mean nearly $2.9 billion back to employers who can effectively use the funds to help in their COVID-19 recovery efforts, and to reinvest in their business. Rebating the excess funds across the country would represent approximately $5.6 billion. For a business with five employees, the rebate would range from $644 in the Yukon to $6,189 in British Columbia.
“Obviously, workers compensation systems need to be adequately resourced to continue the important work of supporting workers and making workplaces safer. But when you have funds reaching levels that are millions – in some cases billions – of dollars above even their upper targets, it’s time to return that money to hard-working small business owners,” concluded Dormuth.
CFIB is calling on all governments to:
- Legislate surplus distribution policies, as in Ontario
- Lower employer premiums or rebate surplus funds to employers, if funding ratio exceeds its target funding, with a stronger preference to rebate eligible employers
- Implement mandatory distribution policies where there are none
Read the full snapshot here.
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Alberta provincial affairs director
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members (9,300 Alberta) across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.