TeksMed – Upcoming and Proposed Changes to the WSIB – And What Employers Need To Do Now

The WSIB’s unfunded liability (UFL) has long been a ticking time bomb in the Ontario economy, threatening employers with potentially unaffordable premium rate increases. Fortunately, much hard work on the policy front and a greatly improved back-to-work program have not only ensured premium rates will not rise in 2017, but they will likely decrease for many employers.

At present, the WSIB is proposing further changes to the program which would see current rating systems (NEER, CAD-7 and MAP) unified into a single system and fall more in line with the way that workers’ compensation programs work in other provinces.

In this article, we will review some of the major changes that will take place within the WSIB in 2017; what some of the proposed changes are; and most importantly – what employers should be doing now to prepare.

What the WSIB Will Look Like in 2017

For many years, the Board struggled with an enormous UFL which soared to a massive $14.2 B in 2011. Since that time, the UFL has been cut by more than half to its current level of $5.6 B. This reduction will allow greater flexibility both to serve injured workers and to reduce the premiums that employers pay for WSIB. This will amount to an additional $250 M which will remain in the Ontario economy[1].

In 2017, employers (province wide), will see an average decrease in premiums of 5% – the first premium decrease since 2001[2]. Although many industries will not be among those attaining the decrease, it is nevertheless good news that their rates will remain stable after years of steady increases. The only industries that will see rate increases in 2017 will be municipalities and paramedics due to presumptive PTSD legislation.

What the WSIB Could Look Like in 2019

The WSIB is currently proposing further changes that would modernize the system. The primary change surrounds employer experience ratings – employers would be rated on their individual experience.

The Board is proposing a six-year review window with the most recent three years to be weighted more heavily than the first three years in the window. Therefore, premiums for 2019 would be calculated using experience ratings from 2012-2017.

What Employers Need to do Now

Although the proposed changes are a few years away, it is important for employers to be informed and act now in order to take full advantage of the changes; and it all starts with ensuring that claims are being managed properly.

If you are an employer, we encourage you to review your claims sooner than later. It is important to take a look at your historical and current experience, evaluate your processes and procedures to ensure that you are in the best position possible when the new system comes into effect.

While it may seem like an overwhelming task, the good news is that it is a task that will pay off; and even better news – it is a task that you do not have to do alone.

For additional information or a consultation, you can engage the help of the experts by contacting TeksMed at 1-877-850-1021.

[1] News release: WSIB Announces First Premium Rate Reduction Since 2001 – (Sept 14, 2016)http://ow.ly/iqzl305prNL

[2] WSIB: 2017 Premium Rateshttp://ow.ly/JM83305psgk

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