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More Than $600 Million Back Into Ontario Economy After WSIB Eliminates Unfunded Liability Charge

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More Than $600 Million Back Into Ontario Economy After WSIB Eliminates Unfunded Liability Charge

Move good for employers and workers; will spur growth and investment in Ontario

TORONTO - Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is ending its unfunded liability charge, leading to a $607 million reduction in costs to business, Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton announced today.

"This is good news for employers and employees across the province," said McNaughton. "This money will lead to investments in new jobs, technology and health and safety programs."

With the reduction announced today, the Doug Ford Conservative government has reduced WSIB costs to business by more than $2 billion since taking office. These costs are falling while benefits to injured workers are maintained and workplace safety continues to improve.

"This is another part of our government's plan for providing more economic opportunity for the people of Ontario," said McNaughton. "By eliminating the unfunded liability, the WSIB has ensured over 222,000 businesses across the province will see premiums reduced."

The WSIB will officially eliminate its unfunded liability charge beginning in January 2020.

Minister McNaughton made the announcement at a job site operated by Eastern Construction, an Ontario-based company that has pledged to give WSIB premium reductions back to employees. Eastern's 130 employees each received a cheque worth on average $600 from their employer last year.

"A good safety record saves lives and money," said Bryan Arnold, President and CEO of the construction firm. "So we want to do everything we can to encourage our employees to keep our sites safe. This was a common-sense move for us."

McNaughton applauded Eastern Construction's decision.

"Worker safety is my top priority," he said. "So I'm proud to stand today with Eastern Construction to celebrate their innovative commitment to safety culture."

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Workplace Safety & Insurance Board is Canada’s largest insurer for workplace safety. It provides benefits to injured workers.
  • Over 300,000 employers in Ontario are registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to receive coverage for some five million employees.
  • In September 2018 the Ontario government announced the elimination of the unfunded liability, along with an almost 30 per cent decrease in premiums starting in January 2019.
  • In January 2020, the unfunded liability charge, or Past Claims Cost, will be eliminated from WSIB rates, resulting in approximately $607 million savings to employers. Of this, about $130 million is related to reduced new claims cost and lower administration costs.

Background Information

Quotes

“Today’s announcement marks a significant achievement. The WSIB’s unfunded liability, which not that long ago exceeded $14B, served as a red flag to investors looking for a place to build office towers, commercial facilities, factories and warehouses and create jobs, warning them of the burden of future increased taxes. Today, Ontario is more competitive and Open for Business!”

Ian Cunningham

President and COO, Council of Ontario Construction Associations

“Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) congratulates the government and the WSIB for continuing to support Ontario manufacturing by further reducing most premium rates for 2020. This decrease, along with the elimination of the unfunded liability, is critical for helping Ontario manufacturers compete for investment by reducing their operating costs. This continuing trend in rate reductions also reaffirms the tremendous efforts of Ontario manufacturers and their employees to reduce workplace injuries and related claims.”

Dennis Darby

President and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME)

“Today’s news is welcomed by the Ontario business community. Premiums come out of the pockets of business owners. This money saved can be better spent on job creation, new technologies, infrastructure, and better, safer workplaces.”

Rocco Rossi

President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce

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