TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance
Board is undergoing transformational change as it enters its second
century of service, WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer said today.
In an address to the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Witmer said dramatic
change in the world of work demands a new era of innovation at the WSIB
to better serve injured workers and employers - while ensuring the
Board's long-term sustainability.
"In embarking on our transformation, we've learned four lessons about
bringing change to a large, complex agency that could apply to any
major organization," Witmer said.
Assumptions exist to be challenged: Passive rehabilitation - conventional wisdom in workers' compensation
for decades - has been challenged by studies showing that activity
hastens recovery while inactivity delays it. "So we have transformed
our approach, with return to work staff who engage with the worker and
employer to facilitate a return to work. This has improved recovery and
return-to-work outcomes, while reducing the number of workers requiring
100 per cent wage loss compensation."
Efficiencies don't have to mean service reductions: WSIB health costs had been rising by 8.5 per cent a year up to 2009.
"Today, by becoming more actively involved in helping injured workers
access the right health care and providing Programs of Care and
specialized clinics, we have improved health outcomes and reduced
permanent impairments. As a result, our health costs have dropped by 11
per cent - while we have increased the amount spent on each worker."
Demonstrate leadership in times of organizational change: This requires communicating results that people can measure throughout
an organization, and beyond to those you serve. "For the WSIB, it's
about the number of workers safely back on the job, not about the
number of claims processed. Employers are seeing improved customer
service. Injured workers are seeing early, personalized intervention,
faster access to care and a speedier and safe return to their jobs."
Stakeholder interests don't have to be a mutually exclusive: "For employers, we provide a more stable workplace for greater
productivity. For injured workers, we enable a safe return to health
and rewarding jobs. This contributes to a strong economy - an interest
we all share. Thanks to these initiatives, in 2012 there were over two million fewer productive days lost than in 2009 - a near-billion dollar injection into the GDP of Ontario."
And because of these transformative results, all Ontarians are seeing a
return to fiscal sustainability at the WSIB for future generations, as
measured by an unfunded liability that's dropped from a high of $14.2
billion in 2012 by more than $2 billion, Witmer added.
"Yet despite our progress, the system remains in a delicate state. We
must maintain our focus on healthy and safe workplaces, ongoing
innovation and fiscal discipline to ensure the sustainability of the
WSIB - to become the best workplace safety and insurance system in
For further information:
Christine Arnott, WSIB Media Relations