On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, the Ontario government introduced Bill 238, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2020. If passed, this legislation would prevent unexpected increases to employers’ WSIB premiums in 2021.
The proposed legislation would amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 to implement a special rule in respect of the calculation of WSIB premiums for the 2021 calendar year. Generally, WSIB premiums are calculated with reference to the “average industrial wage,” an amount based on the average weekly earnings industrial aggregate for Ontario as published by Statistics Canada. However, because the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant job loss among lower-wage workers, the average industrial wage of Ontario workers has increased by 7.8%. The proposed legislation would limit the effect of this increase upon WSIB premiums to 2%.
The government has noted that this amendment will not impact the 7.8% increase in the earnings cap for workers.
As the Legislature has adjourned for a two-month winter break, it may be some time before Bill 238 becomes law.
For more information, see the government’s press release.