The Ontario Compensation Employees Union (OCEU) is launching its ‘Cover Me’ campaign to expand Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage to nearly 1.7 million excluded workers in Ontario. By expanding coverage to all Ontario workplaces, WSIB would be better resourced to support injured workers while reducing costs for both employers and government. The OCEU are members of CUPE 1750.
“With the government review underway, now is the optimal time to recognize the extensive benefits of expanded WSIB coverage for workers, employers and government,” said Harry Goslin, president of OCEU. “It is time for universal workers’ compensation coverage to keep Ontario workers safe and create a level playing field for all industries in Ontario.”
On May 23 2019, the Government of Ontario announced the appointment of two special advisors to lead a review of WSIB “to ensure workers and their families remain supported and protected in the workplace.” The review will focus on the sustainability of the WSIB fund, effectiveness of WSIB governance, and the cost-efficiency of operations.
Ontario has fallen behind the majority of provinces which have much higher coverage rates in Canada. One-in-four workers in the province are not covered by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA). Uncovered workers are left to fend for themselves in the event of workplace injury or illness, forced to depend on Employment Insurance (EI) and Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) for wage loss and medical coverage, or pursue a costly lawsuit.
Excluded employers are often paying unnecessarily high private insurance premiums or choosing to risk costly lawsuits. Employers covered by WSIB are paying more than they otherwise would if coverage were expanded. Expanding coverage would add an estimated $59.2 million to the legislative requirements and $162.6 million to the administrative overhead.
Approximately $128.5 million in health care costs for uncovered workers are currently borne by our OHIP system— costs which should be covered by WSIB through assessment rates.
The Ontario Compensation Employees Union (OCEU) / CUPE 1750 represents more than 3,500 employees of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) across Ontario.