Media Advisory - Small business reacts to "crazy" WSIB move

    TORONTO, Oct. 17 /CNW/ - Spokespersons for the Canadian Federation of
Independent Business (CFIB) are available to comment on today's announcement
from Ontario's Minister of labour Peter Fonseca, that the government is
introducing legislation to make workers' compensation coverage mandatory for
individuals working in the construction industry who are currently not covered
and, are shelving the 'Named Insured Working Group'.
    "I cannot begin to say how disturbed we are to have Minister Fonseca put
forward this crazy policy," said CFIB's director of provincial affairs, Judith
Andrew. "It's often a sign that that a government is trying to sneak through a
poor policy and avoid controversy when they announce something on a Friday. It
is an attempt to avoid getting media attention and avoid accountability."
    Andrew said the fact Fonseca is doing this without having met with the
strongest advocate for the small business sector is in itself a statement on
his judgement. She added that mandatory coverage will not accomplish anything
on the underground economy or safety and that it will penalize the
above-ground operators and expose WSIB to more unfounded claims for benefits.
    In a letter sent today to WSIB chair Steve Mahoney, CFIB vice president
Judith Andrew and director of provincial affairs Satinder Chera told Mahoney
that CFIB is disturbed and disappointed by this development, and wish to
register strong disappointment at the prospect of this important issue being
shelved. Premier McGuinty made a commitment to CFIB members during the last
provincial election to review a 'Named-Insured System'. CFIB says there are
ways to make 'Named Insured' work and if they are not seriously investigated,
the premier's pre-election commitment to small- and medium-sized business has
been violated in an extraordinarily devious way.

For further information:

For further information: To arrange an interview with a CFIB
spokesperson, call Gisele Lumsden at (416) 222-8022 or e-mail

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