NDP: WSIB unfunded liability should be paid for through employer premiums, not cuts to injured worker benefits
QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPPs Taras Natyshak and Monique Taylor probed the WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) for information about worker benefit cuts during two days of committee hearings at the Standing Committee on Government Agencies.
“It was shocking to learn that, against the recommendations of their own expert, this government has been secretly whittling away at injured worker benefits in Ontario,” said Taylor. “The Harry Arthurs Funding Review of the WSIB specifically warned against cutting worker premiums to deal with the unfunded liability, but that’s exactly what this government has done over the past few years.”
The extent of benefit reductions and the secret way the cuts were made were brought to light over the course of hours of presentations and question and answer exchanges. WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer and CEO David Marshall were on hand to represent the government agency.
“As Labour Critic for the NDP, I am very alarmed to learn that not only is the WSIB making injured workers pay for their bad management and unfair funding practices, they are now trying to sweep these cuts under the rug,” said Natyshak. “ Under the Mike Harris regime, the WSIB set the conditions for the unfunded liability by slashing employer premiums, and now they expect workers to suffer to make up for it. This is completely at odds with the approach recommended by Professor Arthurs.”
The NDP committee members successfully passed a motion forcing the WSIB to present detailed documents about the cuts to committee by August 1, 2012.
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