Toronto

WSIB premiums for employers to drop by nearly 30% next year

Ontario's labour minister says Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium rates for employers will drop by nearly 30 per cent starting in January 2019.

Reduction is result of elimination of WSIB's unfunded liability, Labour Minister Laurie Scott says

Ontario Labour Minister Laurie Scott announced on Wednesday a drop in WSIB premium rates for employers will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. (CBC)

Ontario's labour minister says Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium rates for employers will drop by nearly 30 per cent starting in January 2019.

Laurie Scott told reporters on Wednesday the reduction is a result of the elimination of WSIB's unfunded liability and it means the 2019 average premium rate will decrease by 29.8 per cent from $2.35 to $1.65.

According to the WSIB, an Ontario government agency, the unfunded liability is the shortfall between the money needed to pay future benefits and the money in its insurance fund. It reached a high of $14.2 billion in 2011.

"Employers can use these major savings to put more money back in the economy, invest in new equipment and infrastructure, and create good jobs right here in Ontario," Scott said in a news release. 

"Workers can have confidence that the WSIB has a sustainable system with enough money to pay for their future benefits." 

Laurie Scott says the 2019 average premium rate will decrease by 29.8 per cent from $2.35 to $1.65 next year. (CBC)

Scott added the reduction represents a savings of $1.45 billion for employers in Ontario.

The WSIB said it has eliminated its unfunded liability nearly 10 years ahead of its legislated schedule.

"We've moved from a tipping point to a turning point," president and CEO Thomas Teahen said in a news release.

"We are focused on making changes to give people faster, more personalized service to meet their needs and expectations."

According to its website, the WSIB administers compensation and no-fault insurance for Ontario workplaces.

For workers, it provides loss of earnings benefits and health care coverage, and for employers, it provides no-fault collective liability insurance and access to industry-specific health and safety information.

Province to keep minimum wage at $14

Following the news conference, Scott said the government will "pause" a planned increase to minimum wage that was scheduled to kick in next year.

Scott said the minimum wage will remain at $14 an hour rather than rising to $15 as planned by the previous Liberal government.

The minister would not say whether the minimum wage would eventually go up, saying only that the government was conducting consultations on the issue.

With files from The Canadian Press

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