Platform for Change: Collective Liability

By Greg Snider with thanks to Steve Mantis for editing

After reading the title of this article the majority of Canadians will be asking themselves, what is Collective Liability?  This is interesting since one of Ontario’s most popular public programs (OHIP) is based on Collective Liability.  We all pay into our Provincial Health Care account and when we need to pay for medical costs, money is taken out of that account.  This shelters our daily income and savings from sudden unexpected high expenses.  It works the same way for employers protecting them and their business from going bankrupt from a single accident.

There is agreement from the employer, employee and Injured Worker Groups that Collective Liability should be in place.  Where disagreement occurs is over how far it should go.

The more payers you have under a Collective Liability system the less an individual will have to, when the need arises, pay out. This decreases the impact on the company’s ongoing operation. Would every company want this kind of protection and ask to be included?

The answer is no, for several reasons.  Currently a third of companies do not pay into the Workers Compensation Collective Liability Fund or WSIB.  Those that do pay in to WSIB pay differing amounts depending on what business WSIB believes them to be conducting.  The Ontario Government pays WSIB only for the actual costs related to their own injured employees (plus an administration fee) providing no funds to the Collective Liability Fund.  Many companies spend much time and money trying to convince the WSIB that they should be paying less.

The Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group believes that every business should be paying a fixed rate into the Workers Compensation Liability Account, much like they do with OHIP premiums.  How would you feel if the Ontario Government decided that because your family has a history of cancer your OHIP premiums were going to be higher?

Workers Compensation must be about providing compensation to injured workers and Collective Liability is the most fiscally responsible way to achieve that goal.

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