WSIB Announces Preliminary Premium Rates for 2010

TORONTO, July 27, 2009 – Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced today that it will freeze premium rates for employers in rate groups with good health and safety records.

For 2010, the WSIB intends to use the same method for setting premium rates as has been used in previous years — but with one important change. Premium rates will be frozen for rate groups with good health-and-safety performance, while rate increases will be calculated for poor-performing rate groups in the usual way.

The majority of employers — over 200,000 — will have their premium rates maintained at 2009 levels. 2010 will see a significantly smaller number of employers — approximately 36,000 — facing rate increases compared to recent years, when approximately 90,000 employers per year experienced increases.

“The costs of running Ontario’s workplace safety and insurance system have been impacted by recent increases” said WSIB Chair Steve Mahoney. “We must take decisive action to maintain the financial sustainability of the system, while being fair to the workers and employers who rely on it.”

Industry accountability for workplace insurance costs remains key to the WSIB’s approach to rate-setting. Therefore, the small number of employers that are in rate groups that place the greatest financial burden on the system (due to fatalities, injuries and illnesses in their workplaces) will have premium rate increases for 2010. These increases will be calculated using the same proportional approach — looking at claims costs and injury frequency — that has been followed in previous years.

“For 2010, the WSIB is freezing rates for the good performing rate groups — the employers that invest in safety, keep their injury rates down, and keep their claim durations short — so that they will not have to deal with additional costs next year while the economy recovers,” continued Mahoney. “Employers will continue to be eligible for rebates under the WSIB’s incentive-based programs. Now more than ever it is important to recognize good performers and ensure that poor performers pay their share and cover their costs to the system. We are doing all we can in these difficult economic times to avoid placing undue financial burdens on employers. At the same time, we give fair warning that if the WSIB’s economic situation does not improve, we will have to consider introducing premium rate increases in the future.”

Health and safety is the best investment any organization can commit to, especially in today’s challenging economic climate. Investing in safety saves lives, and spares workers and their families the often devastating financial and emotional effects of workplace injuries.

The WSIB maximum insurable earnings ceiling for 2010 is $77,600. This is an increase of 4 per cent from $74,600 in 2009. Changes to the Maximum Insurable Earnings Ceiling are directly linked to changes in average earnings in Ontario as measured by Statistics Canada, and provisions under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

The WSIB will post detailed information about the 2010 preliminary premium rates — including details of rate increases for rate groups with poor health and safety records — on its website. The WSIB is releasing preliminary rates as early as possible to assist employers with their financial forecasting and budgeting for next year. Approval of the final premium rates for 2010 is scheduled to take place at the WSIB Board of Directors’ meeting in September.

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) plays a key role in the province’s workplace health and safety system. The WSIB administers no-fault workplace insurance for employers and their workers and is committed to the elimination of workplace injuries and illnesses. The WSIB provides disability benefits, monitors the quality of healthcare, and assists in early and safe return to work for workers who are injured on the job or contract an occupational disease.