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

Trail liquor store held up Friday night

The perpetrator was brandishing a weapon that appeared to be a gun, according to the Trail RCMP

Trail Smoke Eaters lose in shootout to Coquitlam Express

The Trail Smoke Eaters battled the Express in a tight checking 2-1 shootout loss on Friday

Lest We Forget

Crowd fills downtown Trail for Remembrance Day ceremony

Remembering Trail veterans

The Trail Legion now has 14 veterans from the Second World War

3 games, 3 wins for the Vees

Penticton wins 4-3 over Smoke Eaters

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Most Read