CME OPINION: WSIB IMPROVEMENTS SHOWS DEEP COMMITMENT TO EMPLOYEE SAFETY
Author – Mathew Wilson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations
There is nothing more important than workplace safety for Ontario’s manufacturers. It is why, over 100 years ago, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) helped create the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (now the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services) that focused efforts on supporting employers’ efforts in reducing workplace accidents and making industrial workplaces safer for employees. Since that time, CME has worked to continue to train employers to improve workplace safety. We also have a long history of working with the government to ensure the governing system through the WSIB is efficient and effective for both employees and employers.
However, over time that system became bloated, inefficient, and in deep financial trouble. The inefficient system led to long delays in processing claims which impacted employees and their families and causes uncertainty for employers. Complexity in the system often mis-classified employers into the wrong rate-frameworks – causing overpayment of fees by some and underpayment by others.
At the same time, the system was getting more and more expensive. Between the expansion of services and claims under the system, the expansion of benefits by government, poor fiscal management, employer rates were climbing out of control. By 2016, employers were paying on average $2.59/$100 in salary paid. While it may seem like a small amount to keep workers safe, these fees on top of other payroll taxes (Employment Insurance was an addition $1.88/$100 in 2016) costing Ontario manufacturers billions annually to maintain. This directly impacted the ability for companies to invest in operations and expand their workforce.
Yesterdays announcement by the Ford government and Minister Monte McNaughton was a huge step forward, and one that was the result of massive effort by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Bureau (WSIB), government, employees, and employers. And its one that should be applauded.
Since 2016 fees paid by employers have dropped by a staggering 47%, returning over $600 million into the economy, and now are lower than EI premiums at an average of $1.37/$100 in earnings (EI currently sits at $1.62). While claims are up slightly, the processing time for claims continues to decline, and most importantly, lost time workplace injuries have continued to decline.
Today, the system is healthy and much better aligned to the needs of employees and employers than in years past. Employees continue to have great, and expanding coverage, for workplace injuries when they occur. Employers also have a much more transparent and equitable system that is based on the true safety record of the company. And all of us have a fiscally sound system that will continue to operate well into the future to protect what matters most, our employees and their families.
But we must not stop here. This partnership must continue in every workplace across the province. The WSIB must continue to modernize and strengthen the management of the system and show strong fiscal disciplines. The government must demand accountability from the entire system to ensure we don’t see a repeat of past performance. And most importantly, on plant floors across the province, manufacturers must continue to partner with their employees to reduce injuries through preventative measures wherever possible. It is only this commitment where we will reach our ultimate goal of no workplace injuries.
WSIB 2020 UPDATES
WSIB 2020 Premium Rates and the new Rate Setting Model
On September 25, 2019 the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) announced that the average employer premium rate for 2020, for Schedule 1 employers, will be $1.37 per $100 of assessable payroll, a reduction of 17% from the 2019 rates. Since 2016, CME has worked with the WSIB to ensure that employer premium rates better reflect the significant efforts by employers to reduce their WSIB claims costs, and improved lost time injury rates. Since 2016, the Schedule I average premium rates have gone down from $2.59 / per $100 dollars of insurable income. For 2020 the average rate will be $1.37 for 2020, down from the 2019 rate of $1.65. The Maximum Insurable Earnings Ceiling for 2020 will be increasing to $95,400 because this number is linked to the Consumer Price Index. For your specific 2020 premium rates please go to: https://www.wsib.ca/en/2020premiumrates
Effective January 1, 2020 the WSIB will also be implementing its new premium rate setting model. To help businesses transition to the new model, all employers whose rates are expected to go down under the new model will see their rates automatically decreasing beginning in 2020. For employers whose rates are set to increase under the new model, premium rates will be frozen for 2020 and the initial rate increases will be phased in over 2021 and 2022. The WSIB is in the process of issuing correspondence to employers with their rate specific details. The letters will include your company’s projected premium rate which will be indicative of your businesses’ future premium rate direction, up or down. The new premium setting model will be implemented over a three year period: 2020; 2021;2022. By 2023, all employers will be paying their new rates.
Starting in 2023, the premium rate setting under the new model will be fully in effect. Businesses with projected premium rate increases will see their rates increase up to three risk bands per year, until they reach their projected premium rate. Businesses eligible for decreases will see their rates decrease up to three risk bands per year until they reach their projected premium rate.
For more information on how the new rate setting model will affect your business, please visit: https://www.wsib.ca/en/rate-framework-how-does-our-new-model-work or https://www.wsib.ca/en/businesses/premiums-and-payment/rate-framework .The WSIB will be attending CME’s Workers’ Compensation Committee on October 25, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. to provide a technical session for CME members on the new rate setting model and to provide more details on the 2020 premium rates.
If you wish to attend the above session or have any questions about either the rates or WSIB related matters, contact Maria Marchese.
Thank you for your continued support of CME.