Billions in losses threaten future premium hikes; independent review of the WSIB needed

    TORONTO, Sept. 3 /CNW/ - Acting on behalf of its members, the Canadian
Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling for a third party review
of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), amid growing signs of
financial mismanagement at 200 Front Street. The recently announced $3.34
billion in losses has pushed the WSIB's unfunded liability (UFL) to
approximately $12 billion, up from $5.6 billion in 2001.
    Describing the WSIB's reaction to questions about how they intend to
reduce the UFL as "coy," CFIB's Ontario Director Satinder Chera adds that the
inability to produce a plan of action means one of two things - a) one does
not exist; or b) the WSIB is planning to simply pass on that burden onto
businesses. "CFIB is concerned that its member businesses, required to
purchase WSIB insurance by law, will continue to be used as a means of
financial recourse unless an independent review of the WSIB is conducted to
get at the root of their deepening problems."
    "Small business owners cannot simply raise their prices when faced with
losses," said Chera, explaining that "competition forces them to look to their
own expenses and assess how to serve their customers without increasing
prices." He went on to say that "the WSIB, which wants to be considered an
insurance company, should follow suit and avoid simply continuing to pick the
pockets of hard working, law-abiding businesses to make up for their own
financial shortcomings."
    CFIB also dismisses the WSIB's claims that their losses were the result
of the broader economic downturn, adding that the unfunded liability has been
growing steadily for the better part of this decade.
    "Not only was the WSIB's losses on the rise prior to the current economic
downturn, but even private insurers managed to achieve a return on their
investments last year," said Chera. "Based on this blatant mismanagement and
monopolistic complacency we are calling for an independent review of the WSIB
with the same sense of urgency and seriousness that was taken by the
government in the cases of both e-Health Ontario and the OLG."

    View CFIB's letter to Labour Minister Peter Fonseca at -

For further information:

For further information: To arrange an interview with Satinder Chera,
please contact Adam Miller or Meghan Carrington at (416) 222-8022

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