Government sets operational review of WSIB’s financial oversight, administration and efficiency

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Ontario Construction Report staff writer

The provincial government says it has appointed two special advisors to launch a review of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

In a statement, the Ministry of Labour says the operational review will focus on:

  • Financial oversight: sustainability of the WSIB insurance fund and controls over it;
  • Administration: effectiveness of the current WSIB governance and executive management structure; and
  • Efficiency: the cost efficiency and effectiveness of operations, including comparisons to competing jurisdictions and private sector insurers.

“Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the WSIB will provide workers and their families with peace of mind, knowing if they are injured on the job or have a work-related illness, they will receive the benefits and services they are entitled to,” said Minister of Labour Laurie Scott. “Reviewing and improving the WSIB is one of the ways our government is ensuring that Ontario can continue to attract investment and create good jobs.

The expert reviewers are Sean Speer and Linda Regner Dykman. Regner Dykman is an expert in insurance, with 25 years of commercial insurance with expertise in underwriting, operations, compliance, business development and strategy. Speer is a public policy expert at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, with expertise in Canadian public administration and economic policy.

In the legislature, Scott made clear that the government doesn’t plan to privatize the WSIB after New Democrat health and safety critic Wayne Gates said the plan could “open the door to privatization” of the WSIB.

“The Ford government has already slashed employer contributions, while injured workers in this province continue to struggle,” Gates asserted. “We know that for decades in Ontario, a workplace injury can mean a life based in poverty.”

However, in a report about the review, the Ontario General Contractors’ Association (OGCA) says that it “is an important process to determine both the operation and the future structure of the WSIB and the services it delivers.”

The OGCA says in its weekly newsletter that the WSIB has “achieved full funding of the system and delivered lower premium rates as a result. However, it continues to carry high administrative costs and is top heavy in management.

“The OGCA and our partners in the Construction Employers Coalition (CEC) will work with the reviewers to identify issues and opportunities to reform the system.”

In its documentation, the government makes clear that the review will not consider how the WSIB makes decisions about claims or benefits levels.

It invites comments with an email to wsibreview@ontario.ca, until July 26. The review is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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