Cost Management Before Rate Hikes, OTA says to WSIB

TORONTO – The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) wants WSIB to address its expenses and administrative flaws before implementing any rate hikes.

That was the message OTA Senior VP Stephen Laskowski and OTA policy director Deanna Pagnan passed on to WSIB during a Rate Framework Consultation earlier this week.

“By implementing procedural changes and improving WSIB administration of current policies, improvements can be made to employer classification, rate setting and experience rating,” Pagnan said.

Last year, professor Harry Arthurs conducted a Funding Review to study the WSIB’s finance in “the face of a ballooning unfunded liability,” OTA explained. Arthurs’ recommended that the current employer classification and rate setting system be overhauled. That was followed by “a discussion paper to engage stakeholders in the Rate Framework Consultation,” one that echoed Arthurs’ recommendation.

However, OTA said in a statement, “no real, insurmountable problem has been defined in those areas nor have employers called for an overhaul of employer classification or rate setting at a time when financial constraints faced by the WSIB and other policy issues require more timely attention.”

According to Pagan, “the solutions offered for discussion throughout the paper focus mainly on funding issues, not expenditures — a huge concern for employer groups — and do not address real deficiencies facing the system.”

To that end, the OTA has outlined a list of measures to not only address those deficiencies, but also highlighted areas that could be improved and suggested exploring policies that would “more appropriately assign costs and create greater equity in the system address.”

One of those policies would be “risk banding so better performing companies within the same rate group would be assumed to have lower risk and therefore pay a lower premium rate.”

“This […] may also be extended to assessing employees based on occupation,” OTA said “so employees at a trucking organization that face less risk (administrative staff) may be assessed a lower premium rate than employees in the same organization who face a higher risk (truck drivers).”

A thorough study of WSIB costs is needed, OTA stressed. “Employers have the right to be assured that the WSIB is managing these costs, including its own administration, in order to optimize the return on premiums paid. Only then can the question of premium rate increases be properly answered,” Laskowski said.

Laskowski and Pagnan said that the OTA also supports an experience rating program that treats companies according to their individual performance. “Should a pilot program be developed to test these concepts,” says Pagnan. “OTA volunteers the trucking industry.”

Trucking is the single largest WSIB rate group with over 82,000 employees covered.

For more details, visit the OTA here.

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