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Ontario’s workers’ compensation system makes gains; needs a legislative fix to do better

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Toronto, May 26, 2016 – Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has come a long way in addressing small business concerns over the last four years, according to the latest report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Going forward, improvement is needed in several key areas, many of which require the Ontario government to pass new legislation.

The report, which examines WSIB improvements and shortcomings between 2011-2015, is the first of CFIB’s Project Ontario Research Series, which will outline important small business policy priorities heading into the 2018 provincial election.

“The WSIB has made significant improvements in managing premium rates, improving claims management and enhancing customer service after hearing directly from small business owners over the last four years. While more important work remains to be done by the Board, it is now time for the provincial government to do their part,” said Plamen Petkov, CFIB vice-president for Ontario. “Moving forward we would like to see legislation to eliminate the ‘benefits for life’ provision, to introduce a waiting period for benefits, and to scrap mandatory coverage for independent operators in the construction sector.”

Traditionally, the WISB used to score poorly on premium rates, long-term financial sustainability and customer service. However, the Board has made notable improvements to address these shortcomings by:

  • Freezing premium rates in 2014, 2015 and 2016
  • Reducing the length of claim reporting forms by 60 per cent
  • Reducing its unfunded liability from $14.2 billion (Q4, 2011) to $6.79 billion (Q3, 2015)

“In addition to needing a legislative fix from the province, the WSIB has to focus on curbing its administrative expenses and revamping its experience rating system.”, added Marvin Cruz, CFIB senior researcher and author of the report. “Progress in these areas would go a long way towards improving WSIB’s standing with small business owners.”

CFIB remains committed to continue working with WSIB officials and government policy makers to make improvements that are in the best interest of small business owners and their employees.

To arrange an interview with Plamen Petkov or Marvin Cruz, please contact Ryan Mallough at 416-222-8022, 647-464-2814 or [email protected]

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.