Local woodworker Steve Ciglen, painter Brent Trembley, with MPP Vic Fedeli launch local campaign to fix WSIB.
Local MPP Vic Fedeli held a press conference at his constituency office on Friday to launch a campaign against Bill 119, legislation that requires mandatory WSIB coverage for those who work in the construction industry.
Fedeli, joined by local trades people who are going to being affected by the new legislation, expressed his dislike for the Liberal’s new WSIB increase that came into effect on January 1st, 2013.
Bill 119 was passed in 2009 with full support of the Liberals and the NDP, disallowing private insurance as a substitute for WSIB coverage, requiring business operators to pay insurance twice for much of the same coverage, with the WSIB being the least comprehensive policy that Fedeli says, amounts to merely a tax grab.
In a news release, Fedeli stated that the goal of Bill 119 is to capture more people to pay mandatory premiums who are unlikely to ever claim for an injury.
“This is, plain and simple, a tax on hard-working Ontarians designed to cover up the Liberal government’s mess,” says Fedeli.
The increase will drive up the cost of doing business on wages and legislate large amounts of income out of the pockets of small business operators, pushing up costs and creating inflation in a time of economic instability.
Beyond that, the government’s plan has to be judged on its merits that reveal it to be yet another tax to subsidize those benefiting from WSIB, an organization that Fedeli says is currently operating with a $14 billion unfunded liability.
For many small businesses, this new tax may push more projects underground as a complicated, heavy and double tax makes it easier for contractors to justify operating outside the government’s excessive policies.
Local woodworker Steve Ciglen, painter Brent Tremblay and contractor John Best were on hand at the fix the WSIB campaign to explain their concerns.
They noted the duplicity of the WSIB coverage with their already existing plans and the high costs of losing their built up profiles as good customers to be insured, never mind the collateral they have invested in their own private policies.
The added cost and complication is also cited as pushing some to leave the employment arena altogether, with its thorny tax/ insurance laws coupled with undue frustration.
John Best, who works as a general contractor, says that to put 15 or 20 years of payments into a private insurance plan and then cancel it would be foolish.
“They’ve stuck me once going in and now they’ll stick me again coming back out,” Best says, referring to the costs of jumping on and off insurance programs.
The WSIB Bill now requires Best to pay an additional 9.4% on his wages, along with the 13% he already pays as a sales tax on his work and will undoubtedly drive up prices.
“In my opinion, this is a form of legal extortion,” he says.
The “Fix” the WSIB” campaign to protest the new tax on independent operators, sole proprietors, partners in partnerships and executive officers is requesting those who feel “enough is enough“ and that Bill 119 needs to be repealed, sign a petition online at www.fixthewsib.ca.
Fedeli, along with PC MPP Randy Hillier, also has a website, www.fedeli.com, where the petition is available or you can visit Fedeli's constituency office, located at 165 Main Street East, North Bay to add your personal signature.