Ontario WSIB tackles unfunded liability with premium rates hike

Ontario WSIB tackles unfunded liability with premium rates hike
Elizabeth Witmer, WSIB chair
Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will increase premium rates by 2.5 per cent for all employer rate groups in 2013.
The increase is being implemented to create stable and competitive premium rates for the future and ensure a sustainable workplace safety and insurance system for workers and employers, the WSIB said. This increased rate is also a necessary step to reducing the WSIB’s unfunded liability, which has grown to $14.2 billion.

“This decision by our board of directors was made based on sound and detailed actuarial and financial analysis and will enable the WSIB to meet the government’s requirement that the WSIB be 60 per cent funded by 2017,” said WSIB chair Elizabeth Witmer.

To further address the unfunded liability and ensure the sustainability of the system, the WSIB has made operational changes and increased financial discipline, which have resulted in positive outcomes, the compensation board said.

“In 2011, the WSIB achieved its first operating surplus in 10 years and so far the results in 2012 are even more encouraging,” said Witmer.

At the same time, 91 per cent of injured workers are back to work with no wage loss within 12 months of injury, according to the WSIB, which said it has one of the lowest costs for new claims and administration among all of the provinces.

“While this premium rate increase may add costs today, the retirement of the (unfunded liability ) will result in lower premiums and strengthened competitiveness for Ontario businesses in the longer term,” said Witmer.