WSIB Rates Could Sky-Rocket, says Bradley

TORONTO — A committee established by the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) to guide input in the development of a long-term funding strategy for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced that the containment of premium rate increases is on the top of their to-do list.

In May, the WSIB released the Funding Fairness Report (FFR) that, according to the OTA, said WSIB premiums would be increasing and that premiums should be based on actual costs — regardless of affordability. Each industry rate group, the report advised, should pay the full current and future costs of new claims.

The trucking rate group is the largest of all industry rate groups, explained OTA President David Bradley. The challenge is not whether employers will be forced to pay more, Bradley said, but rather 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,” Bradley said.

“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 looking to maintain a rate group solely for the trucking sector, as well as an experience rating where poorly performing employers pay higher rates than good performers.

The OTA said that as that trucking was one of the industries that pioneered experience rating in Ontario, the trucking sector should be asked to participate in any review of experience rating WSIB might undertake.

“A properly funded system is essential, but revenues are only part of the problem,” Bradley said.

One of those problems is the exclusion of expenditure considerations in the FFR report, a move that the OTA and other groups protested. The decision to leave out a review of WSIB’s costs caused the OTA to go as far as recommending private insurance as an alternative to WSIB coverage.

“The system is broken,” Bradley said bluntly. “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.”

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