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TORONTO, Ont. – A new report released today by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) reveals that Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is rebating millions of dollars each year to companies found guilty of offences that have resulted in workers being killed in work-related accidents.
“The WSIB is re-victimizing workers and their families by handing offending corporations millions of dollars in premium rebates,” said Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. “These CEOs shouldn’t be receiving rebates – they should be going to jail.”
The shocking pattern of WSIB payments is documented in an OFL report, Rewarding Offenders: Report on How Ontario’s Workplace Safety System Rewards Employers Despite Workplace Deaths and Injuries, written by labour lawyer Joel Schwartz.
Over the three year period between 2011 and 2013, 135 employers who had been convicted of offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) were granted rebates on their premiums by the WSIB. Astonishingly, 78 of the 135 (almost 58%) received nearly $15 million in rebates in the very same year they had committed their offences.
In one case, a 57-year old electrician employed by Goldcorp Canada Ltd. was killed in a workplace accident in 2011. The company was fined $350,000 after pleading guilty to not implementing proper safety procedures, but the next year it received a $2.7 million WSIB premium rebate, an astounding amount seven times higher than the fine it paid for the worker’s death.
The scandalous rebates were made through the WSIB’s controversial “experience rating” programs, which are intended to provide a financial incentive to employers for improving worker’s health and safety. Instead, the program provides financial incentives for companies to suppress claims.
“The WSIB should scrap its experience rating system in all its forms and the resulting savings should be reinvested into workplace health and safety, as well as compensation for injured workers and their families,” added Ryan.
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.
For further information:
Sid Ryan, OFL President: 416-209-0066 or @SidRyan_OFL
Joel Duff, OFL Communications Director: 416-707-0349 or [email protected] *FRE/ENG*