Proposed legislation will protect Ontario employers from unexpected WSIB increases
Bill would limit impact of increase to average industrial wage
The Ontario government has introduced the Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2020 that, if passed, will protect employers from an unexpected increase in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums, while maintaining an increase to the maximum earnings cap for worker benefits.
Bill 238 was introduced Dec. 8 by Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton.
“Our government is protecting jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic by giving employers the support they need to get through this difficult time,” he said. “Our proposed amendments will help businesses, while making sure that we continue to support workers who are injured on the job.”
The WSIB is Ontario’s workplace insurance provider and covers over 5 million people in more than 300,000 workplaces.
The loss of jobs among lower wage workers — including those in the retail, hospitality and the service sector — during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in the average industrial wage of Ontario workers by 7.8 per cent, compared to an average increase of two to three per cent.
The proposed amendment would limit the impact the increase the average industrial wage has on WSIB premiums to two per cent, making sure struggling business owners aren’t subject to sudden undue costs during these challenging times.
Additionally, this new amendment will not impact the 7.8 per cent increase in the earning cap for workers, ensuring they will continue to be fairly compensated for work-related injuries and occupational diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a government news release, the WSIB has frozen premium rates for Ontario employers for another year at the same levels paid in 2020.