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.

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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District of Vanderhoof municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof district rejects FOI request for business name

Officials will release more information about the restaurant on May 21

Audrey McKinnon is seeking the NDP nomination for the federal riding of Cariboo-Prince George. (Twitter)
Audrey McKinnon puts name forward for NDP for federal election

McKinnon preparing for a contested nomination for Prince George-Cariboo riding

Michael Rees at his studio on the first floor of the old Burrard Market Square building. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Painter and print-maker showcased at Vanderhoof Street Art Show

Michael Rees uses narrative in a majority of his work

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
B.C. man finds men who rescued him from drowning in Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person, when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Most Read