Elizabeth Witmer, chair of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) delivered the keynote address at the Council of Ontario Construction Association’s (COCA) recent Annual General Meeting in Woodbridge.
COCA reports in the association’s newsletter that Witmer made the following points in her remarks:
- The WSIB works in close collaboration with its stakeholders to support healthy and safe workplaces including participation on the Chief Prevention Officer’s Prevention Council, sponsorship of Skills Ontario, the PracticeSafeWork campaign, and the continued administration of the Safety Group Program;
- In the period from 2008 to 2015, the number of lost-time injuries per year in the construction industry declined by 25 per cent;
- However, in the same period, the construction industry had more traumatic fatalities than any other industry with 155;
- More than 92 per cent of injured workers return to work with no wage loss within 12 months of their injury;
- In the fall of 2016 the WSIB announced average premium rate reductions for 2017, reductions for some rate groups were as high as 14 per cent;
- The WSIB’s board of directors approved the new rate framework with implementation on January 2019 at the earliest;
- The new framework will change the way employers are classified and the way premium rates are set and adjusted;
- Changes will be implemented gradually and in a way that fosters stability;
- The WSIB will be advising employers about the changes ahead; employers will be given the opportunity to review and confirm their classification in the new framework
- The rate framework is revenue neutral
- In the new rate framework, approximately 90 per cent of construction employers will receive premium rate reductions while 10% will receive increases;
- The unfunded liability currently stands at approximately $4 billion and the sufficiency ratio stood at 84.9 per cent as of September 2016
- The government may introduce legislation which in effect will provide benefits for workplace chronic mental stress.