This week your Chamber of Commerce will appear before an appointed WSIB Funding Review Panel headed up by Professor Arthurs, Chair of the Funding Review and Panelists, Maureen Farrow, Buzz Hargrove, John O’Grady, and John Tory.
Why are we appearing? Because once again the WSIB is in trouble and finds itself with a $12 BILLION Unfunded Liability (UFL) and is seeking input from those who pay for it to exist. That would be you and I.
The London Chamber of Commerce has followed the Funding Review with active interest. We have long argued that the current system is in need of repair, and view reform as essential to achieving a viable workplace safety and insurance system.
The Auditor General (AG) has traced the Board’s $12 billion Unfunded Liability (UFL) to a political “balancing act” on the part of government. The AG pointed out that the Board’s internal governance function is constrained by the government’s political agenda, which has caused benefits to fluctuate independently from revenues, putting upwards pressure on premiums over time. As a result, the AG concluded that significant structural changes are required to ensure that the Board operates in accordance with principles of good governance.
In light of the AG’s observations, we were disappointed to learn that the WSIB Funding Review is limited to a narrow set of revenue and claims management considerations. The WSIB has identified six items for inclusion in the Review: funding; premium rate setting; rate groups; employer incentives; funding occupational disease claims; and indexation for partially disabled workers. While these issues have a bearing on the Board’s financial situation, they cannot be considered in isolation from the more significant issue of a state legislated monopoly on insurance benefits. As long as the Board lacks the ability to influence expenditures, it will have difficulty getting the UFL under control.
To see the Chamber’s complete brief as presented to the Funding Review Panel please visit our website http://www.londonchamber.com after our presentation on April 21 2011.