Blog Post #91 – Unfunded Liability Takes A Big Jump

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada Magazine

Legislated changes to employee benefits, along with poor investment returns, have caused the unfunded liability of Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to skyrocket more than $2 billion.

The WSIB’s annual report for 2007, released just in October, shows the liability grew from $5.997 billion in 2006 to $8.094 billion in 2007.

Bill 187, affecting the benefits for 155,000 workers, saw payments increase by 2.5 per cent; Bill 221, which ensures firefighters are compensated for work-related cancers and heart attacks, was made retroactive to 1960. Together, the moves increase benefits by $750 million.

The WSIB report also points to 2007’s net negative investment return of 0.7 per cent, compared with a strong positive return in 2006 of 16.2 per cent.

Despite the financial picture, the report states “the WSIB remains committed to eliminating the unfunded liability and achieving full funding by 2014, with significant progress to be made by 2012.”

The ballooning liability means that the funding ratio has dropped from 73.2 per cent at the end of 2006 to 66.4 per cent at the end of 2007, the first such decrease after three years of increases.

In a release, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers charges that WSIB officials have used the continued unfunded liability as a reason to stop annually adjusting workers’ compensation for the changes in cost of living. Such adjustments were made in the 1980s, the network points out, even though the WSIB’s funding ratio was as low as 44 per cent.

My opinion,

The world changes but many companies still do not work diligently to protect their workers. The unfunded and ‘underfunded’ liability just goes to show that the message is still not clear and many companies are causing the rest of the workforce a lot of grief. Fall Protection, Forklift training, Confined Space Entry, WHMIS, Lockout and Tagout, Basic Certification level 1 and 2, just to name a few, are some of the training courses that all employers need to ensure worker safety.

HRS Group Inc. is committed to providing the best possible training at a very reasonable price. We have 3 full time trainers as well as 1 part time trainer that can meet the needs of most employers. 65 years experience in the health and safety field includes the mining sector, the industrial sector, the electrical field, as well as training in the construction and healthcare fields.

We have programs to meet every one of your company’s needs. Please feel free to contact our Rose at (705) 749-1259 for a quote. We offer group rates which will see your company realize even better savings over our per person rates.

We aim to please and REMEMBER, we adhere to the appropriate sections of the ACT, its regulations and the codes, guidelines of standards that also apply which are often used by the Ministry of Labour inspectors. (eg. B335-04 is the CSA standard for forklift training)

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRSGroup Inc.

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