Submission questions consultation objective of redistributing surplus funds to employers when it is injured workers and their benefits that were sacrificed to eliminate the unfunded liability in the first place and achieve the resulting surplus funding. While the Speer-Dykeman report refused to look at the history of the unfunded liability and who paid for it, IWC summarizes that history as the most important element of creating a path forward and provides recommendations on how the ‘surplus’ money could be used to provide fair restitution to injured workers …
10 August 2021
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development Health, Safety and Insurance Policy Branch
Delivered by e-form.
Submission re: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Insurance Fund Surplus Distribution Model Consultation. Proposal # 21-MLTSD 017.
The enclosed submission contains feedback from the Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic (IWC) to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
When we speak to injured workers and the labour community about the current consultation the MOL has launched regarding the surplus distribution model, “kicked when down,” is the main sentiment we hear. This is because the consultation is expressly aimed at determining how to reward employers – yet again – for the elimination of the WSIB’s unfunded liability and the resulting surplus funding.
We share their sense of shock and disappointment. How can this government even think of redistributing funds to employers when it is injured workers and their benefits that were sacrificed to eliminate the unfunded liability in the first place? Surely it is time to return to injured workers what was taken away from them in the name of eliminating the unfunded liability.
We reject the premise of the consultation, and we find it hard to disagree with injured workers when they tell us that the questions – which only relate to how to divide the spoils amongst employers – are insulting. From its very inception, this consultation itself is unfortunately flawed. This is because it grows from Speer-Dykeman report also called WSIB in Transition, 2020, which has a glaring defect in its analysis. Simply put, the report refused to look at the history of the unfunded liability and who paid for it. In fact, that report explicitly stated that it:
is not a backward looking document. Others have effectively covered the historical evolution of the WSIB. There is no reason to revisit the past here.
With this one simple sentence, the report released itself from the responsibility of looking at what created the unfunded liability in the first place (artificially low premiums) and who paid for its elimination (injured workers). By refusing to understand the past, WSIB’s Speer-Dykeman inspired modernization process – and subsequently this consultation process – fails to understand the present.
Briefly, we will summarize why history is not only an important part of understanding what the government and WSIB should do at this historic juncture, but that it is the most important element of creating a path forward….
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