Andrew Pariser / RESCON
How the time flies! In a follow-up to our very first Health and Safety column on our blog, I am going to focus today on RESCON’s submission regarding the WSIB Rate Framework Review. RESCON will support the CEC (Construction Employers Coalition) joint submission and will submit one to focus on issues that affect builders.
The submissions are being crafted after extensive consideration by CEC stakeholders and members of the RESCON Health and Safety Committee. The deadline is Oct. 2. Three main themes we will highlight include:
- Decouple rate reduction and rate framework review discussions: The WSIB under the leadership of Elizabeth Witmer and David Marshall have made leaps and bounds in tackling the un-funded liability (UFL) and they, as well as the WSIB as a whole, should be commended for their efforts. Part of this good news story has been a reduction in lost time injury (LTI) rates within construction, which have declined by 42 per cent over the last 10 years. These two points were highlighted in a recent CEC submission to the WSIB which called for a 10-per-cent reduction in all Class G Construction premium rates. CEC clearly highlights that, due to a reduction in LTIs, premiums should be reduced to lower overpayments by construction employers.
- Maintain the Executive Rate: In the rate framework review, the WSIB has not proposed to continue the executive premium rate which currently stands at $0.21. This rate which was recently established eased the transition to mandatory coverage. However, the new system creates a bended premium rate which would replace the current multiple rating system. For clarity, the blended rate focuses on what that employer’s predominant business activity is and classifies each employer based solely on that core business function. This means any employer engaged in multiple business activities – for example, property rentals, home builder, and restaurants – will now be rated as only a property rental, home builder or restaurant. This is potentially dangerous as the rates can vary widely between groups and large percentages of an employer’s workforce could be misclassified. It would also remove the executive rate which for employers classified as home builders would increase the rate approximately $4.39 to the $4.60 group average. In order to mitigate this, the WSIB has added a concept called predictability, which is our third point.
- Predictability: The WSIB has proposed to give each employer a predictability score. The idea is that the more statistically significant your company is (in other words, the more people you employ, the more statistically significant your WSIB data will be), the more a company can control its own rate. For example, the largest homebuilder is estimated to have a predictability score of 60 per cent. This means that employer, through their safety performance, will control 60 per cent of their rate. The remaining 40 per cent will be based on the relevant rate group’s performance. While this creates incentives for very large builders, it also reduces incentives for very small builders who will be unable to control more than five to 10 per cent of their individual rate. It also highlights a major concern in the removal of the executive rate and move to blended rates. For example, a small builder will be reliant on the premium group average for more than 95 per cent of their individual rate and therefore will be forced to overpay for the executive positions. Despite above average performance, they will not be able to move in a meaningful way away from the average.
These three points are not our full submission, but they raise multiple questions which have not yet been answered by the WSIB. With the rate framework review deadline fast approaching, RESCON will continue to seek answers and raise issues that are in the best interest of the residential construction industry.
Thanks for reading. Work safe!
Andrew Pariser is the vice-president of RESCON and chair of the association’s health and safety committee. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @RESCON_VP.