Ont. to reduce WSIB premiums for business

Canadian Pizza
October 04, 2018
By Canadian Pizza
Toronto – Insurance premium rates for employers will be sharply reduced due to the elimination of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's Insurance Fund's unfunded liability, the Ontario government and the WSIB recently announced.

By eliminating the unfunded liability, the WSIB will be able to cut the average premium rate for employers by almost 30 per cent, starting Jan. 1, 2019. This will help employers save money, increase investment and create more jobs, the Ontario government said in a release.

The unfunded liability – the shortfall between future obligations to pay injured workers and the money available to pay them – stood at $14.2 billion in 2011. Eliminating it helps ensure a sustainable and accountable workplace safety and insurance system that supports injured workers, and increased economic growth and productivity in Ontario.

A fully-funded system means that if workers are hurt on the job or develop illnesses, they will receive the benefits and services to which they are entitled, the Ontario government said in a news release.

Restaurants Canada welcomed the announcement, which it said will help keep costs down for the province’s foodservice operators.

The 2019 average premium rate for foodservice employers will be reduced by 31.6 per cent, which will save the average operator $933 per year, Restaurants Canada said in a news release.

“This announcement puts $35 million back into the industry to invest in workers and safety programs,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada vice-president for Central Canada.

Labour Minister Laurie Scott reaffirmed the Progressive Conservative government’s election campaign promise to keep the province’s minimum wage at $14 an hour, rather than raise it to $15 in January 2019, as planned by the previous government, Restaurants Canada said.

“This year’s sudden increase to the minimum wage caused unprecedented menu inflation and a reduction in hours for foodservice workers,” Rilett said. “By keeping their commitment, the Ontario government is giving restaurants time to adjust.”

The organization summarized the challenges for restaurant operators: Average pre-tax profit margins for Ontario’s foodservice businesses are only 3.1 per cent, the lowest in the country. Menu prices across the province have risen by 6.6 per cent so far this year, as foodservice operators have had to adjust to the minimum wage increase to $14 in January. This is the largest menu price increase the province has experienced since the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax in 1991.

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