HAMILTON – Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is cutting premium rates in 2022 by $168 million, bringing the total reduction in premiums since 2018 to $2.4 billion. In addition, the government is intending to introduce legislation that, if passed, would allow for a significant portion of the WSIB’s current reserve, currently valued at $6.1 billion, to be distributed to safe employers. This proposed change would help employers cope with the impacts of COVID-19.
Details were shared today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development at Donut Monster, a local bakery in Hamilton whose WSIB premiums are being reduced next year.
“We know shopkeepers and merchants on Main Streets across Ontario need help. That is why our government is taking action by modernizing the WSIB to support these employers and protect local jobs,” said Minister McNaughton. “This package will save employers hundreds of millions of dollars that can be reinvested in new jobs, technology, and health and safety protections. At the same time, injured workers will continue to receive the benefits and services they deserve.”
The Ontario government is also proposing to enable the WSIB to work with the Canada Revenue Agency to streamline remittances for businesses. This change would reduce administrative costs and burdens by giving businesses an efficient one-stop-shop for submitting payroll deductions.
“Supports like these go a long way to help keep businesses viable and competitive as we deal with the impacts of COVID-19,” said Heidi VanderKwaak, owner of Donut Monster. “The rate reduction means more money for employers like me to increase wages for frontline staff so we can remain competitive and fair while also investing in improving health and safety in the workplace. Today’s announcement will help keep workers safe and small businesses open.”
Lastly, closures in low-wage sectors due to the pandemic have resulted in a spike in Ontario’s Average Industrial Wage. As a result, the ceiling for worker benefits will be increasing by 9.45 per cent. To prevent some businesses from having to pay thousands of dollars a year in additional premiums, Ontario is capping the growth of premiums to an increase of 3.2 per cent (close to the normal range) through a regulation under the Workplace Safety and Amendment Act. Similar action was taken for 2021.