WSIB to change how it calculates employer insurance rates

Government agency says new system is transparent and easy to understand

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) says it wants to make it easier for employers to understand and administer workplace safety insurance premiums in the province and reward good employers with lower rates.

After a lengthy review and consultation process, the WSIB has presented its proposed updates to the system and is accepting input on the “rate framework” until Oct. 13.

The changes will result in a more transparent rate-setting system, which should make it easier for employers to understand why they are paying the rates they are, said Sean Baird, WSIB vice-president of employer services.

Part of that process will be a simplification of the workplace classification process—the first step for any workplace registering with WSIB. Previously, the WSIB had used its own system to classify workplaces. But under the new framework, it’ll adopt the widely used North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), the same system used by the Canada Revenue Agency and Statistics Canada. Under the old system there were 155 rate groups, while the new system will use just 34 industry classes. (WSIB has created a tool for employers to see how they will be classified under the new system.)

In terms of bottom line impacts, premium rates should be more closely tied to the individual workplace health and safety history—the safer the workplace, the better the rates.

The objective is to make each employer’s rates “more reflective of the risk those employers are bringing,” said Baird. In other words, if you operate a workplace where there is greater risk to the employees the rates will go up. If you run a demonstrably safe workplace with less risk the rates should go down over time. That principle exists in the current system but in the updated system rates will better reflect the risk associated with each workplace, rather than those in the category. “An employer who outperforms the industry will receive, over time, a lower rate,” he said.

The new system is schedule to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The WSIB is in the process of sending out letters to every employer in the province to update them on changes to the rate framework and how they will be classified in the new model. In 2018, WSIB will provide projected rates under the new model and in 2019 actual rates will be provided.


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