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Employers in Ontario will face sharply lower premiums for workers compensation insurance after the province eliminated its once-massive unfunded liability.
By eliminating the unfunded liability, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will be able to reduce the average premium rate for Schedule 1 employers by 29.8% to an average rate of $1.65 on every $100 of insurable payroll starting Jan. 1, 2019. Schedule 1 employers are those in industry sectors such as construction, manufacturing and retail.
The unfunded liability — the shortfall between future obligations to pay injured workers and available funds — stood at CA$14.2 billion in 2011, according to the board. In 2012, the Ontario government passed a regulation requiring the WSIB to be 100% funded on Dec. 31, 2027, but the province was able to eliminate the unfunded liability ahead of the deadline through premium revenues, improvements in claim duration, higher investment returns and a decrease in lost-time injuries.
The elimination of the unfunded liability will allow the injection of CA$1.45 billion into the provincial economy, the board said in a statement on Thursday.
“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,” Laurie Scott, Ontario Minister of Labor, said in the statement. “Workers can have confidence that the WSIB has a sustainable system with enough money to pay for their future benefits.”
Newly adopted legislation in the Canadian province of Ontario has the potential to significantly raise the costs for employers that participate in its workers compensation program and bars them from strong-arming employees about claims.