McGuinty nominates Elizabeth Witmer to WSIB post

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has nominated Elizabeth Witmer as chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Witmer's nomination came after current chair, Steve Mahoney, announced he would not be seeking a new term at the WSIB. Mahoney is expected to end his six-year term in May.
Witmer, a former deputy premier, stepped down Friday as MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo following McGuinty's nomination.

A former Minister of Labour and Minister of Health, Witmer is exceptionally qualified to chair the WSIB, according to a statement from the McGuinty government. She has also served as Ontario's Minister of Education, Minister of the Environment and Deputy Premier, and has a long history of service to her community and province.

As chair of the WSIB, Witmer will be tasked to reduce the compensation board's unfunded liability of more than $12 billion.

In 2010, the Ontario government commissioned a report by the former Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, Harry Arthurs, to provide advice on dealing with the WSIB's unfunded liability. The organization is now working to reduce the unfunded liability while protecting injured workers and ensuring the WSIB operates in a business-friendly manner.

"As a full-time chair appointed for a five-year term, Witmer will bring stability and leadership to that process," said the statement from McGuinty's office.

The WSIB is an agency of the Ontario government that provides disability benefits, monitors the quality of health care and assists in early, safe return to work for workers injured on the job, or who contract an occupational disease. It is entirely funded by employer premiums.

The nomination is subject to review by the Standing Committee on Government Agencies.