In order to offset its unfunded liability, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has announced an average premium rate increase of 2.5% for 2013, 0.5 to 1% above projected inflation rates for the year. While the OCC recognizes the need to address the WSIB’s $13.8 billion unfunded liability, we are disappointed to learn that employers now face higher premiums. Given the current economic climate, increased payroll costs could deter investment and job creation at a time when economic stimulus is needed.
The OCC will continue to work with the WSIB to ensure that it follows through on its commitment to become more responsive, sustainable, and client-focused.
In addition, the Ministry of Labour is proposing amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA). Proposed changes to the WSIA would, if passed, allow the WSIB to:
- Review Loss of Earnings benefits after 72 months; and
- Base survivor benefits on the average earnings of the deceased worker’s occupation or trade rather than the statutory minimum currently provided under the Act.
Currently Loss of Earnings benefits are generally ‘locked in’ after 72 months, even if an injured worker’s condition improves or they rejoin the workforce. Ontario is the only province in Canada to ‘lock in’ Loss of Earnings benefits after 72 months.
These proposed amendments will be introduced once the Legislature resumes.
For further information or to schedule an interview, contact: Sarah Elliott at 416-482-5222 ext. 2330.