Shifting the conversation from employers to employees
It is clear the current WSIB system is not working for employees across the province.
The WSIB appears to be recognizing the archaic nature of the current model and is in the process of creating a new “reformed rate framework model” to address the current model’s many shortfalls.
We commend the staff at WSIB for their thorough consultation sessions and the in-depth resources provided on the new model.
However, we want to shift the conversation from the commonly asked “What will this mean for employers?” to “What will this mean for employees?” The cost of workers’ health and lives must be the central consideration, as opposed to on the periphery of cost-savings for employers.
Topics we addressed in our October 2015 submission to the WSIB included:
- Expansion of coverage (i.e. mandatory, universal)
- Implications for temporary workers and agencies
- Surcharges and surcharge refund programs
- Positive incentives for good health and safety records
- Internal and third party review of new WSIB model
- Implications for incident report dynamics
- Rates between non-union and unionized workplaces
- Specifics of new rate classifications for healthcare employers
- Corporate penalties for convicted Workplace Safety Insurance Acts (WSIA) offence
- Physical monitoring (audits) of workplaces and internal staffing levels
The first topic – expansion of coverage – is an essential element of creating a more equitable compensation system. According to an article by the Injured Workers Group, Ontario has one of Canada’s lowest workplace insurance coverage rates, with estimates of coverage ranging between 70-72% of the Ontario workforce.
Within the healthcare sector, retirement home and group home employees are not covered, many of whom SEIU Healthcare represents. Expanding WSIB coverage to all workers in Ontario would benefit not only workers but also the WSIB system in general, and would also reflect one of the original intentions of Ontario’s workers’ compensation: a system founded on collective liability.
Therefore, expanding compensation universally across Ontario is one of SEIU’s strongest recommendations in our submission.
We do not believe that a fair system can be delivered by experience rating models in general, as the system inherently disadvantages injured workers. Yet, we want to make sure our members’ voices are still at the table and have therefore offered suggestions on the proposed model which would reduce the model’s impact on workers.
Read the full submission here.