Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will reduce its average premium rate by 29.8 per cent next year.
The WSIB is able to reduce the rate because it has eliminated its unfunded liability nearly a decade ahead of its legislated schedule, which the board calls a “financial milestone.” This announcement was made Sept. 26.
“(Wednesday’s) premium rate announcement leaves $1.45 billion in the economy every year that businesses can invest in new jobs, new technology, and health and safety improvements,” said Elizabeth Witmer, chair of the WSIB, in a statement.
Back in 2009, the auditor general of Ontario warned that the unfunded liability put the WSIB at risk of not being able to meet its obligations to people.
“This achievement safeguards Ontario’s workplace health and safety system. People who are hurt or become ill as a result of their work can have confidence we will be here to help them now and always,” she said.
Ontario businesses, which played an important role in paying down the unfunded liability, will now see a significant reduction to the average premium rate, leaving more money in the economy. The 2019 average premium rate will decrease by 29.8 per cent — from $2.35 to $1.65.
The WSIB has also launched a new strategic plan focused on helping businesses improve health and safety, achieving better return-to-work and recovery outcomes for people and updating services and technology while maintaining fiscal discipline.
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The WSIB, with JLT Canada and the Public Services Health and Safety Administration, held a discussion panel to explain the changes to the rate-setting framework.