TORONTO, Ont. -- The Ontario Trucking Association says the OTA WSIB Committee – a group established to guide input to the development of a long-term funding strategy for the provincial Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) – has set premium rate increase containment as its single most important short-term objective.
The message coming out of the May release of the Funding Fairness Report (FFR) conducted by legal scholar, Dr. Harry Arthurs, was that WSIB premiums would be going up and that premiums should be based on actual costs, regardless of affordability, and that each industry rate group should pay the full current and future costs of new claims.
The trucking rate group is the largest among all industry rate groups and David Bradley, OTA president, says the challenge appears to be not whether employers will be forced to pay more, but how much more. “Our aim will be to try to get the WSIB to ensure that rate increases are consistent with actuarial science and are transparent, reasonable, incremental and predictable, without government interference in the rate and benefits setting process,” he says. “The ultimate goal is a WSIB system that is sustainable, stable and fair to both injured workers and to employers who fund the system in its entirety.”
The OTA WSIB Committee is also seeking to maintain a rate group solely for the trucking sector and experience rating where poorly performing employers pay higher rates than good performers. As one of the industries that pioneered experience rating in the province, OTA says the trucking sector should be asked to participate in any review of experience rating the WSIB might undertake.
“A properly funded system is essential, but revenues are only part of the problem,” says Bradley. The terms of reference imposed upon Dr. Arthurs for the FFR excluded expenditure considerations, something that OTA and other employer groups vehemently protested. In fact, the exclusion of a review of the WSIB’s costs caused OTA to recommend consideration of private insurance as an alternative to WSIB coverage.
“The system is broken,” says Bradley. “And the WSIB does not have a good track record when it comes to fixing its problems. They have the opportunity to get the program back on track, but we are concerned that without also reviewing its expenditures, the pricing of WSIB coverage could sky-rocket, making it and Ontario employers uncompetitive.”