Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Toronto – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is condemning the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s (WSIB) latest attempt to pay for its blatant mismanagement of the system by hiking employer premiums and is therefore calling on the Ontario government to intervene and stop this “irresponsible tax grab.”
“Increasing the payroll tax burden by four per cent over the next two years just as the economy is emerging from recession will do nothing to support the recovery,” said Satinder Chera, CFIB’s vice president for Ontario. “Today’s decision is just one more example of why Ontario employers have lost confidence in the WSIB.”
With the Board’s Unfunded Liability (UFL) at over $12 billion (up from $5.6 billion in 2001), and its plan to retire the UFL abandoned, this gross mismanagement threatens the employers who fund the system and the injured workers who rely on it. What makes it all the more painful for employers is that when the now abandoned plan was put together, employers supported multi-year premium rate increases and worked hard to reduce workplace injuries by over 50 per cent. By 2001, the strategy worked to reduce the deficit by half to under $6 billion and was on track to eliminate it by 2016.
“Now that those gains have been squandered, and having waited a year after the WSIB announced billions in losses, employers were told today to wait for the outcome of an internal review on fixing the system, while they are now on the hook for two years of increases and, maybe even beyond,” added Chera.”
Since 2009, CFIB has been calling for an “independent” review of the WSIB. Arguing that the WSIB could not be trusted to police itself, CFIB wrote to Labour Minister Peter Fonseca last September, urging him to appoint an outside review to help restore public trust and direction to this floundering public sector agency.
“In light of Premier McGuinty’s recent comments cautioning against hikes in payroll taxes, at this point in time, we hope the government will intervene immediately to stop the WSIB from skirting its responsibilities and forcing employers to pay for the WSIB’s financial fiasco.”