Mandatory workers compensation legislation draws criticism from CFIB
By Andrew SnookConstruction Financing Health & Safety Law
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has drawn criticism from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) after Ontario’s Ministry of Labour announced that mandatory coverage for independent operators within the construction industry will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 2008 (Bill 119) will extend mandatory workers’ compensation coverage to independent operators and various other individuals working within the construction industry, and the CFIB fear that the additional payroll taxes that will come with the mandatory coverage will hurt small construction businesses and consumers and lead to job losses.
The CFIB have spoken out against the legislation in the hope that the government will step in and reverse the decision before it comes into effect.
Bill 119, the pre-registration provision of the legislation came into effect on Jan. 1, 2012 and allows independent operators to pre-register with the WSIB.
The WSIB has started a year-long education campaign to educate people within the construction industry about the new legislation.
CFIB’s Ontario vice-president Satinder Chera criticized the legislation, stating that imposing the additional tax was not done to improve workplace safety, but to help the WSIB cover $14 million in unfunded liability.
“Small employers should not be stuck with the bill for the gross mismanagement of the workers’ compensation system,” said Chera.
The WSIB stated that the new legislation will “improve health and safety in the construction sector and ensure everyone is paying their fair share under the collective liability system.”
For more information on the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 2008 (Bill 119), visit www.wsib.on.ca