WSIB to undergo review

Construction on Wyandotte St. E at Devonshire Rd. in Windsor August 4, 2015. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Following up on a promise made last fall, the Ford government said it will conduct a review of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

The board works to reduce the number of injuries and deaths in Ontario workplaces and provides injured workers with compensation and other benefits.

The review is anticipated to achieve three goals. First, assess the financial sustainability of the insurance fund. The current governance of the board and executive management structure will be reviewed to ensure its effectiveness, and its operations will be compared to similar boards in other jurisdictions and in the private sector to evaluate its cost-effectiveness.

“Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the WSIB will provide workers and their families with peace of mind,” said Minister of Labour Laurie Scott. “Reviewing and improving the WSIB is one of the ways our government is ensuring that Ontario can continue to attract investment and create good jobs.”

However, the opposition at Queen’s Park was quick to criticize the government after the announcement was made.

“Injured workers have suffered for decades under a WSIB that failed to properly compensate workers who were injured on the job,” said Wayne Gates, Ontario NDP critic for the Workplace Safety Insurance Board. “Within months of taking office, Doug Ford made a bad situation worse, slashing employer contributions by 30 per cent and delivering a kick in the teeth to injured workers who are struggling following serious injuries on the job.”

The premium rate for employers was cut by almost 30 per cent in January after the WSIB’s unfunded liability was eliminated. The move is expected to inject $1.45-billion into the provincial economy but saving employers money so they can boost investment and create jobs.

Linda Regner Dykeman and Sean Speer will conduct the review, and a report to the Labour Minister is expected by the end of the year.