Workers are being railroaded out of their benefits
The Ontario 2016 Budget indicated that the government hoped to cut WSIB premiums for employers once they dealt with the unfunded liability. In 2009, the Auditor General warned that the WSIB’s costs had begun to significantly outstrip its revenues, putting at risk the WSIB’s capacity to meet its obligations to injured workers. Following a funding review, legislation was passed in 2012 requiring the WSIB to eliminate its unfunded liability by 2027, with interim funding targets in 2017 and 2022. The WSIB has taken significant steps to reduce costs, and its finances have been improved by growth in investment returns and insurable payrolls. After hitting a high of $14.2 billion in 2011, the unfunded liability was $6.8 billion as of the WSIB’s 2015 third quarter that ended September 30, 2015. At the end of its 2015 third quarter, WSIB was close to 78 per cent funded on a sufficiency basis, approaching the 2022 requirement of 80 per cent. The WSIB is now projecting the possibility of reaching full funding by 2022 — five years ahead of the legislated timeline. A more solid financial footing for the WSIB protects worker benefits and supports employers. Due to progress made to date, employer premiums have not been increased for three years. In its “2015 Economic Statement,” the WSIB estimated thatwhen the unfunded liability component is removed from the premium rate, it will be able to deliver $2.4 billion annually in premium reductions. This would represent anaverage premium rate reduction of about 40 per cent, with the average premium rate declining from $2.46 per $100 of payroll to $1.40 to $1.50 in 2015 dollars. It would also make Ontario one of the most competitive provinces in terms of workplace insurance costs, while it remains the province with the lowest allowed lost-time injury rates. An annual $2.4 billion corporate “tax” cut, all paid for by the injured workers of Ontario.
2018 WSIB Conference
Slides and presentations from speakers at OCHU's WSIB Conference, January 16-18, 2018.