TORONTO, Ont. — The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), whose workers’ compensation system currently has a $14 billion unfunded liability, has announced that the 2011 premiums paid by Ontario employers will rise by an average of 2%.
For the trucking industry, the General Trucking (rate group 570) rate will increase by 11.1% going from $5.79/$100 of insurable earnings to $6.43. Warehousing (rate group 560) and Courier Services (rate group 577) will also see increases, with Warehousing increasing by 18.4% from $2.77 to $3.28 and Courier Services by 17.5% from $2.46 to $2.89/$100 of insurable earnings.
OTA president David Bradley reacted to Friday’s announcement saying, “This is the worst possible time for the government to be increasing payroll taxes. The economic recovery is still fragile and anything that discourages hiring is only going to prolong the pain.”
Bradley pointed to the fact that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty recently invoked the “now is not the time to raise payroll taxes” mantra when he chided the federal government for increasing EI premiums. “The WSIB should take the Premier’s advice and do everything in its power to keep rates stable rather than hiking them when businesses are still so economically vulnerable,” Bradley said.
As part of the announcement, the WSIB also indicated that it would be undertaking a comprehensive review of funding for the WSIB system headed by Harry Arthurs, former Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and President Emeritus of York University. According to Bradley, “any decisions about the need for rate hikes should wait until after the completion of this review.”
“Regardless,” he says, “funding is only part of the problem at the WSIB; it has got to get costs under control, eliminate fraudulent claims, and making sure that all employers who should be in the system are.”
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