The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and other local Chambers across the province to prepare a position paper regarding the proposed changes to the rates charged by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). The submission supports the modernization of the WSIB, however there is concern that the proposed reform will increase rates paid by employers and, consequently, the cost of doing business in Ontario.
“There are existing issues with the current WSIB system and therefore a reform to modernize the WSIB is positive step for Ontario. In its current form, rates often change year by year and the WSIB relies on an outdated classification system. We have to modernize the system while being careful not to further burden the business community in Ontario.” says Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce President Monica Dale.
The Ontario Chamber put forward ten recommendations with the goal of creating more clarity around the reform and also working to ensure that Ontario can benefit from an effective WSIB program. The main objective is to clarify some of the concerns that the Chamber network has identified. Dale adds “the only way we can effectively represent our members is if we have a clear understanding of the potential outcomes from this reform. This is why it was important to request a detailed analysis.”
The main concern for the Chamber network is that the cost impact of the proposed changes is yet to be determined. Ontario’s current WSIB rates are among some of the highest in the country. The proposed reforms do not clearly communicate if these premium rates will increase or decrease, and if so by how much.
Dale concludes that “the WSIB reform is a process that will have an impact on all of the businesses in our community. We want to ensure that business owners are subject to fair WSIB costs while also ensuring that the system can protect employees. The Chamber would like to see the WSIB changes include provisions that will encourage employers to keep employees safe through cost incentives and reward businesses with better-than average safety records, similar to the system used in Alberta.”