Safer workplaces, better outcomes for injured workers and operational and financial improvements have left Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in its strongest position in decades, WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer recently reported.
Witmer’s comments came during the WSIB’s Annual General Meeting for stakeholders in Toronto on September 14, 2016, along with the release of the Board’s 2016 Economic Statement detailing its operational and financial performance.
“These outcomes now provide us with the flexibility to implement enhanced benefits for injured workers, while at the same time enabling premium rate relief for Ontario employers,” Witmer said
President and CEO Tom Teahen added that a five per cent reduction on the average premium rate for 2017 follows a generation where the province’s employers paid among the highest premium rates in Canada to bring down the system’s unfunded liability (UFL).
“After reaching a high of $14.2 billion in 2011, the UFL today has been reduced by more than half to $5.6 billion,” Teahen noted.
Teahen went on to outline recent examples of enhanced supports for injured workers. These include the WSIB’s administration of legislated PTSD coverage for first responders, stronger support for firefighters suffering work-related cancers and linking benefits to inflation.
“The WSIB’s return to financial strength lets us pursue our renewed commitment to excellence and integrity,” Teahen stressed.
Witmer and Teahen added that the five per cent reduction is an average figure, and that for 2017 and beyond, employer groups that have shown positive performance in health and safety outcomes, as well as in the number and cost of new claims, will see a decrease of up to 14 per cent in their rate compared to 2016 as economic conditions permit.
Teahen credited the WSIB’s turnaround to several factors detailed in its 2016 Economic Statement. These included better outcomes for injured workers, a higher than anticipated premium revenue, and finally safer Ontario workplaces which lead to fewer claims
“That makes today’s announcement good news for everyone concerned,” Witmer concluded.