The Ford government announced today they are slashing the amount businesses will pay to support the insurance system that protects injured workers, instead of making investments to ensure the program adequately provides injured workers with the support they deserve.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) was created over a century ago to provide workers who are injured, made sick, or killed on the job with supports, including an income, to help them and their families. Today’s announcement of an across-the-board average premium reduction to employers of 29.8 per cent in 2019 comes after the WSIB has already cut employer rates by 10 per cent in the past few years.
“For too long Liberal and PC governments alike have failed to support injured workers with an adequate workers’ compensation system,” Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, stated in response to the government’s announcement. “Benefits paid out to injured workers have been on the decline for years. Far too many injured workers are being denied access to benefits of any kind or aren’t even covered by WSIB in the first place. Thousands of injured workers are now living in poverty in Ontario. Ford is simply speeding up the Liberals’ work on reducing support to injured workers.”
WSIB is an employer-funded program that does not use any tax dollars. Since the mid-1990s, when Mike Harris’ PC government first reduced employer fees by 30 per cent, the program has faced repeated cuts and reductions to payments for injured workers under both Liberal and PC governments.
“This is not about saving taxpayers money,” said Hahn. “It is about a government reducing the responsibility of employers for supporting workers who are injured on the job, forcing the publicly funded health care system and social services to pick up the slack. Rather than letting employers off the hook for their responsibilities, the government should make sure the WSIB covers all Ontario’s workers and is able to effectively support injured workers for generations to come.”