WSIB investments take $1.2-billion hit on stock market

Recession, job losses and increased claims result in $11.4-billion unfunded liability

Despite costs exceeding revenue by $2.4 billion last year, Ontario's Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) will not raise workers' compensation premiums for employers with good safety records, according to the board's head.

The WSIB collects premiums from employers and provides benefits to more than 155,000 injured workers.

The roller coaster markets in 2008 resulted in the WSIB's insurance fund losing $1.2 billion in 2008, a year-over-year decrease of more than $2 billion, according to the WSIB's annual report.

The investment losses, combined with drops in premiums due to job losses and increased claim payments, pushed the board's reserve fund's unfunded liability, the amount by which its projected costs exceed its assets, to $11.4 billion from $8.1 billion in 2007.

While premiums will increase for 36,000 of the 238,000 covered by WSIB, those companies are part of rate groups with poor health safety records, said WSIB head Steve Mahoney.

Premiums for more than 200,000 companies will stay the same, as they have for the past three years.

Some of the groups that will see premium increases include warehousing, roofers and courier services. Some business will see up to a 10-per-cent increase in premiums.

Proposed premiums for 2010 will range from 0.33 per cent of pay in communications industries to 16.5 per cent for demolition companies.

Latest stories