No premium rate increases for 2014

TORONTO, July 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) today announced that premium rates will be maintained at current levels for all employers in 2014. This decision by the WSIB Board of Directors provides stability for employers as the WSIB, in consultation with stakeholders, reviews its methods for setting premium rates.

"Continuing improvements in recovery and return-to-work outcomes for Ontario's injured workers - along with the WSIB's improved financial picture - mean we are well-positioned to offer stability for employers," said WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer. "Results for the first quarter of 2013 show the system is progressing well towards its financial targets, including meeting funding requirements set under government regulation last year."

These improvements in recovery and return to work (see backgrounder) have been accomplished while maintaining benefit levels for injured workers.

"Premium rate increases, along with growth in insurable earnings, brought an additional $2.4 billion into the system from 2010 and 2013," said Witmer. "At the same time, Lost Time Injuries have decreased, and better outcomes for injured workers have reduced benefit costs, saving the system more than $500 million a year."

The WSIB's recently released financial and operational reports on the first quarter of 2013, show continued operational and financial improvements, which are helping the WSIB to reduce its unfunded liability.

"We know we can meet the challenges ahead as we continue to introduce enhanced programs and new technology to deliver even better value and service to workers and employers" concludes Witmer. "Although we have more work ahead of us, we are on-track to create a modern, sustainable system that supports economic growth and productivity and provides a financially stable system for future generations."

BACKGROUNDER

2014 Premium Rate - Supporting Results

Recovery and Return to Work

The WSIB has realized significant improvements. In 2012:

  • 92% of all injured workers with lost time injuries were back to work with no wage loss within 12 months of their injury.
  • For injured workers unable to return to their pre-injury employers, for the first two years of the Work Transition program, 69% of injured workers obtained employment after completing their programs - an increase from 36% success under the old, outsourced Labour Market Re-entry model.
  • The length of time on claim and the number of workers requiring 100% wage loss support has dropped significantly.
  • Quicker referrals to high-quality health care providers resulted in fewer workers experiencing permanent impairments - down from 12.7% in 2009 to 8.9% in 2012.
  • In the decade leading up to 2009, health care costs were escalating. By the end of 2012, better management has decreased health care costs by 10.5% while increasing the amount spent per worker.

Service Excellence

  • Faster decision making has resulted in 92% of eligibility decisions now being made within two weeks of the claim being received. More than half of these are made within 24 hours.
  • Employers have embraced eService offerings. In 2012, 94% of clearance certificates were issued online; use of ePremiums increased to 47%; and use of eRegistration increased to 66%.
  • During operating hours, callers to our Employer Service Centre can now count on getting a live answer, not voicemail.

Finance and Administration

  • The WSIB has reduced annual benefit costs paid from $3.2 billion in 2009 to $2.7 billion by the end of 2012 - a cost saving of more than $500 million a year.
  • In 2012, employer premiums fully covered our operating costs, meaning approximately $1.3 billion of investment earnings could be applied against the unfunded liability.
  • The WSIB's administration expenses continue to be tightly controlled, with improved efficiency and modernization.

SOURCE: Workplace Safety & Insurance Board

For further information:

Christine Arnott,
WSIB Media Relations 
416-344-4202
christine_arnott@wsib.on.ca


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