Entries in WSIB (7)

Wednesday
Jan132016

Still time to comment on changes to WSIB Premiums

In partnership with the Kawartha Manufacturers’ Association (KMA) and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Home Builders Association (PKHBA), the Chamber held a WSIB Roundtable on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at the Kawartha Shrine Club.  The event was designed to inform and gather feedback on future changes as to how they will determine premium rates for businesses that require WSIB coverage. The WSIB is an independent trust agency that administers compensation and no-fault insurance for Ontario workplaces.  

At the meeting WSIB Executive Director of Strategic Policy Jean-Serge Bidal emphasized that the changes are a “fundamental shift in the way premium rates will be determined for businesses, with one of the main goals to reflect the risk and effort toward health and safety for each business in Ontario.”

Current Framework

The current framework is a complex classification system with 130+ categories and is not completely reflective of current and new industries that have evolved since the early 1980s.  There is a lot of volatility in the current system around premium rates, with businesses paying  a basic group rate and then 18-24 months later receiving either a rebate  or a surcharge based on claims. The rates are currently determined by identifying predominant business activity through payroll. 

The predominant business activity also determines into which category your business falls.   

WSIB Proposed Framework

 

  • Goals of the proposed rate framework: Clear and Consistent, Fairly Allocated Premiums, Balanced Rate Responsiveness, Transparent and Understandable, Collective Liability, Ease of Administration 
  • Fundamental Change:Rates will be individual to each business and reflect the risk that particular business brings to the system in their category
  • Categories will be based on the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), which is reviewed every five years and is more reflective of the current economic makeup
  • 3 variables from the employer will be considered by WSIB to set future rates: payroll, cost of claims, number of claims (speaks to predictability) 
  • Each industry class will have a projected premium rate and a risk band associated with it that covers 40 - 80 pricepoints, with the Class Projected Premium Rate serving as the median
  • Once a business is placed on the risk band, it’s premium will not move more than 3 pricepoints in either direction per year
  • The last six years of WSIB experience will be used in the premium equation, with the most recent three weighted at 2/3 and the remaining three at 1/3

 

In September 2015, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce was part of the taskforce that worked on a submission to government, that included 7 recommendations on how to improve the new rate
framework for business.  These recommendations were to “create greater certainty for employers and ensure that Ontario benefits from an effective workers’ compensationsystem,” wrote Allan O’Dette, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber was pleased to see that in December 2015 when the WSIB released an updated framework, six of the seven recommendations from the Chamber Network were incorporated into the plan.

Next Steps

Comments on the proposed framework are open until the end of March 2016.  The WSIB will be releasing updated premium rate information by the end of January and will be seeking approval of the framework by late 2016.  The current implementation date is no sooner than 2019, with a year before implementation so businesses will have time to determine how the changes will affect their business. 

Feedback?

Send your comments to the WSIB Secretariat via email:consultation_secretariat@wsib.on.ca

or

to the Chamber via email: sandra@peterboroughchamber.ca

Resources:

A one-page information sheet on the WSIB roundtable 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Wednesday
Dec232015

New rate framework on the way...have your say on WSIB

The impact of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) rates has been an issue on the minds of many members of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce this past year.  We heard concerns on rates, rate increases and concern around communication of the rates.  As such, the Peterborough Chamber was part of an Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) task force developing recommendations for presentation to the WSIB.  

In September, the Chamber Network submission was presented as part of the stakeholder consultation process. In all, the Chamber Network provided the Government of Ontario with ten recommendations, seven of which dealt directly with the proposed changes to the rate framework.  Of those seven, six were incorporated in the new WSIB Rate Framework document released earlier this month.  

The OCC has provided us with an update on the seven rate framework recommendations (these are the Top 5):

Recommendation 1: Provide a public and detailed analysis of how the proposed rate framework changes will impact employers. The WSIB has committed to conducting a risk disparity analysis that will form part of the regular, ongoing monitoring of the Rate Framework. Emphasizing the key goal of ‘fairly allocated premiums’, the WSIB indicated that the analysis could lead to updates to the class structure designed to better distribute the costs by industry.

Recommendation 2: Introduce a surcharge mechanism to ensure that employers with effective health and safety programs don’t pay the cost of poor performing employers within their class. In our submission, the OCC noted that the elimination of the surcharge mechanism in the proposed framework would become problematic when an employer’s costs far exceed the rate charged to the highest risk band in their class.  The WSIB has responded with a commitment to implement a program similar to the Alberta Poor Performance Surcharge (PPS) to encourage high cost employers to improve their health and safety management efforts.

Recommendation 3: Expand the proposed class structure. The WSIB originally proposed to reduce the number of employer classes from 155 to 22. Members of the business community expressed concern that the proposed class structure risks grouping employers with very different risk profiles – which could impose undue costs on businesses. The WSIB has responded by increasing the number of classes in the proposed framework from 22 to 34. We will continue to work closely with the WSIB to ensure that businesses are fairly classified
according to their risk profile.

Recommendation 4: Reconsider implementing the predominant class model. The WSIB originally proposed to subject employers to a premium rate based solely on the business’ predominant activity. We view this as problematic as it could lead to significantly higher premium rates for employers engaged in multiple business activities. The WSIB has committed to ‘further exploring’ exceptions to this general rule to allow employers to pay multiple premium rates that are reflective of their business activities. The OCC will work closely with the WSIB to ensure fairness for employers engaged in multiple business activities.

Recommendation 5: Implement a weighted cost claims ‘window’. The OCC recommended that the WSIB implement a weighted cost claims ‘window’ based on employers’ claims cost history over the past three rather than six years to ensure that the rate charged to employers is reflective of their recent commitments
to health and safety. Although the WSIB plans to move ahead with the six years claims window, the OCC is encouraged by the updated weighted feature in which the most recent three years are weighted at 66.6 percent and the remaining three years at 33.3 percent, a significant improvement from the model that had been previously proposed.

These three recommendations:

 

  • The WSIB should be subject to oversight by the Auditor General.
  • The Government of Ontario should study the merits of introducing comparable WSIB delivery models including options such as full and/or partial privatization.
  • The Government of Ontario should amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to exempt construction employers who have obtained comprehensive 24/7 insurance coverage from coverage under the WSIB scheme.

 

did not deal directly with the rate framework, but are still very much part of the lobbying effort by the Ontario Chamber Network as they are important to creating a more competitive business climate for Ontario.  

The Peterborough Chamber will be hosting the WSIB Secretariat’s Executive Director of Strategic
Revenue Policy on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 from 8:30-11:00am at the Kawartha Shrine Club.  The event is in conjunction with the Kawartha Manufacturers’ Association and the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Home Builders Association.  

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn. 

Wednesday
Oct282015

What's on the minds of Peterborough businesses?

The stack of issues impacting the business community is growing.  In fact, you could say that 2015 has been a growth year, but not always in a good way.  With all of the issues and concerns that our local businesses must wade through to stay compliant, to plan for their future, to know if their business is moving in the direction they want and whether or not they’re ready to hire, perseverance is required.  Peterborough has seen a number of new businesses open in our downtown and industrial park, and along our two other main commercial thoroughfares, Lansdowne and Chemong. For that, we thank you.  

At the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce we’ve been working with the Chamber network to make sure your concerns are heard at all levels of government.  This includes programs to help bring taxes to a level consistent with other like communities, red tape and regulation, pension plans, workplace insurance, infrastructure needs for transportation of goods, trade deals, and reaching new markets. 

Municipally, we have fought to get the Tax Ratio Reduction Program back into the City of Peterborough budget.  Our partners in this venture the Kawartha Manufacturers Association and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors see the value in the program, which will put Peterborough on a more level playing field with communities like Barrie.

Provincially, the list of areas of concern has grown over the past year.  The proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) is still set to come into effect January 2017 on a phased in basis.  Employers would pay 1.9% for each employee to a maximum of $1,643 per year.  Employees would contribute a matching amount. There are some exceptions and the provincial government is currently saying that if the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is improved upon then there may be no need for the ORPP.  The Peterborough and Kingston Chambers of Commerce successfully presented a policy resolution in Ottawa asking the federal government to allow employees to contribute more to CPP should they choose.  The Canadian Chamber of Commerce will now be able to take that recommendation from the business community to the federal government.

The rate framework of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is in the midst of major overhaul.  Some of the changes include the number of rate groups and how a rate is determined.  The Peterborough Chamber was involved in a taskforce examining the issue and submitted a report to the provincial government representing the business perspective.  

Federally, the business community and the Chamber Network are advocating for projects such as Energy East, which will not only be a national job creator but an opportunity to use more of Canada’s natural resources in our own country.  Also on the list is help for innovation investment in new energy technologies, a place in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, and an improved and more open relationship between the business community and rail.

The graphic shows a number of issues the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is currently working to address through our lobbying and advocacy efforts. If there is an issue you feel we have missed please let us know through  sandra@peterboroughchamber.ca or 705.748.9771 x215.

The mission of the Chamber is to strengthen the business community, speak as one to government, and push for legislative change that allows Peterborough businesses to stay competitive.

Look for our Policy Report Card 2014 under "Lobbying" at peterboroughchamber.ca

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" LinkedIn group.

Wednesday
Sep092015

What business needs to know: Changes to WSIB

The way employer premiums are determined under Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) are changing. While in some respects the Proposed Preliminary Rate Framework marks a positive change from the existing rate setting process, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is concerned that the new rate framework could increase the premium rates paid by employers and, subsequently, the cost of doing business in the province.

The OCC supports efforts to modernize the workers’ compensation system in Ontario. Building a 21st century workforce is a core component of the OCC’s five year Emerging Stronger economic agenda. Keeping the province’s economy firmly on the path from recovery to growth will require changes to the way government and its agencies work. Ontario needs a workers’ compensation system that is both responsive to labour market needs and fiscally sustainable.

As such, the OCC has provided the WSIB with a written submission outlining 10 recommendations that the WSIB and the Government of Ontario should adopt to mitigate the impact of the proposed reforms. Over 25 chambers of commerce and boards of trade signed on to the submission.  The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce was one of the members of the OCC’s WSIB Taskforce and assures that considerable thought has been given to the proposed recommendations. 

“…the 10 recommendations that, if adopted will create greater certainty for employers and ensure that Ontario benefits from an effective workers’ compensation system,” explains Allan O’Dette, President and CEO, OCC. “The recommendations align with the key goals of the Proposed Preliminary Rate Framework, including its commitment to transparency, balanced rate responsiveness, and its efforts to fairly allocate premiums.”

The recommendations also align with the concerns of some members of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.   One member told me that under the current WSIB system a small self-employed business in the construction field must pay thousands of dollars into WSIB even if they currently have more comprehensive 24/7 coverage of their own.  While another member expressed concern about the unknown of the changes ahead, “am I going to see a rate increase or decrease under the new structure and when will I know exactly what the rate changes will mean for my business?”

Concern: The proposed rate framework will create savings for some employers, and create new costs for others.
Recommendation #1: The WSIB should provide a public and detailed analysis of how the propose rate framework changes will impact employers.

Concern: Employers with effective health and safety programs could end up subsidizing employers with high claim costs as a result of the proposal to stop surcharges.
Recommendation #2: The WSIB should implement a program similar to the Alberta PPS to encourage high cost employers to improve their health and safety management efforts and to ensure that the cost of poor performance is absorbed by poorly performing employers rather than other employers in their class. 

Concern: A limited number of classes risks grouping employers with very different risk profiles.
Recommendation #3: Expand the class structure to more accurately reflect the risk profiles of employers, while maintaining the predictability of industry classes and premium rate stability for employers.

Concern: The shift towards predominant business activity classification will increase the cost of doing business. 
Recommendation #4: The WSIB should reconsider implementing the predominant class model and continue to allow businesses to pay different rates based on their activities in different business areas.

Concern: The elimination of the Second Injury and Enhancement Fund would reduce reemployment opportunities for injured workers.
Recommendation #5: The WSIB should retain the SIEF to encourage the reemployment of injured workers.

Concern: The proposed claims experience ‘window’ to determine premium rates could result in employers being charged for risks that are no longer a feature of their
workplace.
Recommendation #6: The WSIB should implement a weighted cost claims “window” based on employers’ claims cost history over the past three years rather than six years to ensure that the rate charged to employers is reflective of their recent commitments to health and safety.

Concern: The WSIB’s unfunded liability is a drag on Ontario’s competitiveness.
Recommendation #7: The WSIB should be subject to oversight by the Auditor General.

Concern: The WSIB Fatal Claims Adjustment Policy will be redundant in the new framework.
Recommendation #8: The Fatal Claims Adjustment Policy should be eliminated from the framework as soon as possible.

Concern: The workplace safety market should be opened up to competition.
Recommendation #9: The Government of Ontario should study the merits of introducing comparable WSIB delivery models including options such as full and/or partial privatization. 

Recommendation #10: The Government of Ontario should amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to exempt construction employers who have obtained comprehensive 24/7 insurance coverage from coverage under the WSIB scheme.

The overall underlying concern throughout the submission is that any changes to the WSIB do not have a negative impact on the cost of doing business in Ontario.  The WSIB proposed changes are one of several examinations of legislation affecting workplaces.  The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the OCC are very aware that new legislation in the form of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan and the Cap and Trade Program, along with increases to minimum wage and electricity prices are having creating a cumulative legislative burden on the business community.   

Read the full report, including the proposed breakdown of classes.

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Wednesday
May202015

OCC: Regulatory Update - Spring 2015

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce's (OCC) quarterly Regulatory Updatesummarizes what employers need to know about the latest changes to the regulatory environment for businesses. Easing the regulatory burden for Ontario businesses is one of our top priorities. We are committed to continuing to advocate for a business climate that fosters investment and growth.

Direct Employer Access to ‘Express Entry’ Applicants Now Available

Employers now have direct access to Express Entry (EE) applicants through Job Match, a revamped version of Job Bank, the federal government's job database. Job Match facilitates direct connections between employers and candidates.

This follows the launch of EE earlier this year. EE is the federal government's new electronic application management system for recruiting highly skilled immigrants. The system puts employers front and centre in the immigrant selection process.

To access Job Match, visit: http://bit.ly/1EpsQxM

Learn More: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/employers/express-entry-presentation-fall2014.asp

New Employment Standards Poster Requirement in Effect This Month
In effect May 20, 2015

Starting May 20, 2015, employers in Ontario must provide all current employees with a copy of version 6.0 of the Ministry of Labour’s Employment Standards Poster within 30 days. Any new employees hired after May 20, 2015 must be given a copy within 30 days of their date of hire. Ministry-prepared translations of the poster are available.

Learn more: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/poster.php

Ministry of Labour Consulting to Address the Changing Nature of the Workplace
June and July 2015

The government has launched public consultations on the changing nature of the modern workplace. The consultations will focus on how the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and Employment Standards Act, 2000 could be amended to keep pace with the changing needs of workers and employers.

The consultations will address a number of topics, including the increase in non-standard working relationships (e.g. part-time work and self-employment) and accelerating technological change.

Consultations will be taking place in June and July in the following communities:

  • Toronto – June 16
  • Ottawa – June 18
  • Mississauga – June 24
  • Guelph – June 25
  • Windsor – July 7
  • London – July 8

Learn More: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/workplace/consultation.php

Minimum Wage Set to Increase Later This Year
In effect October 1, 2015

Ontario is raising the general minimum wage from $11 to $11.25 per hour, effective October 1, 2015. Minimum wage rates for jobs in special categories (liquor servers, homeworkers, students, etc.) are also increasing at the same time.

Learn More: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/guide/minwage.php?ww_newsFlashID=446FBD61-A7C2-A6DE-6675-FCDF4FD4CBBF

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Consulting on Rate Reform
Submissions due June 30, 2015

The WSIB is reviewing how its rates are set. They have developed a proposed preliminary Rate Framework which aims to address fundamental issues with the current employer classification structure and premium rate setting processes. They are currently consulting with employers on the framework.

Written submissions to the WSIB are due by June 30, 2015.

Learn More: http://www.wsib.on.ca/WSIBPortal/faces/WSIBDetailPage?cGUID=WSIB060197&rDef=WSIB_RD_ARTICLE&_afrLoop=3537831839977000&_afrWindowMode=0&_afrWindowId=ckls2wcz_1#%40%3FcGUID%3DWSIB060197%26_afrWindowId%3Dckls2wcz_1%26_afrLoop%3D3537831839977000%26rDef%3DWSIB_RD_ARTICLE%26_afrWindowMode%3D0%26_adf.ctrl-state%3Dckls2wcz_42

Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Bill Passed by Legislature
Ongoing

On April 29, the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2015 was approved by the Ontario Legislature. This Act forms the foundation of the government's new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) and requires that the pension plan be implemented by January 1, 2017. Important details of the plan, such as which workplace pension plans will be exempt from the ORPP, have yet to be worked out.

The ORPP will be a standalone, mandatory pension plan requiring employers and employees to contribute 1.9 percent of an employee’s yearly earnings (up to a maximum of $90,000) per year. In its 2015 Budget, the government committed to establishing a body (the ORPP Administration Corporation) that will be responsible for administering the plan and investing contributions.

Before approval by the Legislature, the Act was amended to require the Minister of Finance to prepare a cost-benefit analysis of the new pension plan by the end of the calendar year.

Learn More: http://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2015/04/bill-strengthening-retirement-security-for-millions-of-workers-passes-in-ontario-legislature.html

**Please note that this email includes hyperlinks to third party websites. Although the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and its member Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade make reasonable efforts to obtain reliable content from third parties, the OCC and its member Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade do not guarantee the accuracy of any third party content. The OCC and its member Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade do not necessarily endorse the legislative or regulatory changes listed in this email.