BC Liberals want to trim WorkSafeBC surplus

Small business group says it’s 40 per cent ‘overfunded’

WorkSafeBC charges employers insurance premiums to finance benefits paid to injured workers. (Black Press files)

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

VIDEO: World-renowned urban planner encourages Cowichan Valley to ‘benchmark with the best’

CVRD welcomes Gil Penalosa, founder and chair of 8 80 Cities, as part of Place-Making Speaker Series

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP member poses as construction worker to catch distracted motorists

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are taking action on distract driving this year and… Continue reading

VIU’s Cowichan campus promotes mental health awareness with new bench

Friendship Benchs visible at schools across the country

Save-On free $25 gift cards can go to Ladysmith Food Bank

Save-On-Foods is offering a $25 dollar reward to customers that they can… Continue reading

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

UPDATE: City of Nanaimo senior manager dismissed

Chief operations officer Brad McRae no longer employed by the city

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Most Read