BC Liberals want to trim WorkSafeBC surplus

Small business group says it's overfunded, BCFed president calls Shirley Bond announcement 'outrageous'

WorkSafeBC charges employers insurance premiums to finance benefits paid to injured workers.

A re-elected BC Liberal government will put a cap on WorkSafeBC’s surplus premiums and return excess funds to employers who pay into the agency’s injury fund, Jobs Minister Shirley Bond says.

Bond said Wednesday she doesn’t have a figure yet on how much money WorkSafeBC should have on hand in its accident fund, but an analysis will be done by June. A policy would be set when the legislature sits after the election.

“We believe the best place that additional funds for employers would be in their businesses,” Bond said. “So as we see the surplus in the accident fund increasing, we want to be sure there is a mechanism of policy and explicit direction that at a particular point there would be a return of funds to employers in British Columbia.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has been pushing for the policy, citing similar measures in Alberta and Saskatchewan. CFIB says that by 2015, WorkSafeBC’s assets exceeded liabilities by $4.5 billion, making the fund nearly 40 per cent “overfunded.”

“Small business owners care deeply about their employees’ safety and understand the importance of WorkSafeBC being adequately funded,” CFIB vice-president for B.C. and Alberta Richard Truscott said in a statement. “However, being significantly overfunded is unfair to employers.”

Truscott said CFIB has met with WorkSafeBC multiple times on the issue and delivered petitions supported by 1,700 small business owners.

BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger called the proposal “an outrageous political move” at a time when more needs to be done to ensure worker safety.

“The money that the government and employers are appropriating should instead be used to improve benefits for workers killed an injured on the job that were slashed by the BC Liberals,” Lanzinger said.

WorkSafeBC reports that the provincial injury rates have been declining in recent years. Base premium rates for employers were increased in 2013 and 2014.

 

Just Posted

Political tensions continue in Ucluelet First Nation

“The citizens continue to be concerned with the level of transparency and accountability.”

Kayakers concerned by new reservation system in Broken Group Islands

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve upsets paddlers with new process.

Scammers hit Ucluelet

Fraudulent phone calls proved costly for at least two Ucluelet locals last week.

West Coast leaders to discuss potential ice rink today

Proposed multiplex would be located between Tofino and Ucluelet

Locals hash out Tofino’s proposed cannabis ban

“I hope to raise my family in a place that doesn’t stigmatize perfectly good people.”

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Residents call on province to keep locals housed

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Vancouver Island’s Teal Harle finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle skiing

‘I’ve definitely surpassed every expectation I had for the Games’ – Harle

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

B.C. VIEWS: Subsidy supercluster settles in B.C.

Ottawa, Victoria add to their overlapping ‘innovation’ budgets

Most Read