A statement released May 27 by CEO Elizabeth Witmer and President Tom Teahen declares the WSIB is pleased by recognition of its service improvements by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
This is detailed in “Assessing Ontario’s Workers’ Compensation: Progress to Date Since 2011”, the first in a series OF CFIB reports outlining its small business policy priorities leading up to the 2018 provincial election. We question why the WSIB is accepting the endorsement of an organisation advocating drastic cuts to injured workers’ benefits, including employees of small business firms.
What the WSIB statement did not say
The May 2016 CFIB report includes a call for the Ontario government to make legislative changes to the current workers’ compensation system in a number of areas, including reducing the coverage of Ontario’s workers compensation system by “removing mandatory coverage for independent operators and business owners in the construction sector.” The CFIB also calls on the government to introduce a waiting period for benefits. A waiting period, they note, “can be an effective way of curbing increases in premiums” and “discouraging minor claims.” Ontario eliminated the concept of a waiting period in 1963, which was common in the early workers’ compensation systems. The CFIB also wants stop paying the permanent disability pensions payable to workers with permanent disability from accidents before 1990.
The injured worker community is interested in the government’s response to these policy proposals which constitute a further erosion of the delivery of fair and timely compensation for as long as disability lasts.
A fairness code
One of the CFIB’s key recommendations in its Small Business Workers’ Compensation Index is a Fairness Code for Employers. We suggest that proper adherence to the Meredith principles on which Ontario’s workers’ compensation was established would result in fairness for employers – and for injured workers.