Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

Ontario WSIB: Time to heat up their phone lines at their 'Fair Practices Commission'

Canadian Contractor Business Insurance Liability risk Service

The WSIB has a fair practices commission. Their president and CEO, I. David Marshall, is just a few months away from completing his 5-year term, with a $400,000 bonus very likely awaiting him on the way out. Are you, as a contractor, feeling fairly treated?

When the Ontario government passed Bill 119, almost two years ago, they forced WSIB payments onto tens of thousands of independent contractors in the province who didn’t have to pay into the program previously.

Many contractors believe that this was simply a move to get revenue from a class of contractors (the self-employed) who would be very unlikely to make claims on the system. The surplus money generated would then assist WSIB in paying down their multi-billion-dollar “unfunded liability.”

For implementing not just this, but other WSIB policy changes, I. David Marshall the president and CEO of the WSIB, will likely qualify for a $400,000 “performance” bonus (on top of $400,000 annual salary) when his five-year term ends in January 2015.

No doubt the government was eager to see their top bureaucrat find some ways to better fund the WSIB. Since 2008, the unfunded debt has risen from $11.5 billion to around 15 to $18 billion

Four years ago, the Ontario Business Coalition highlighted that, between 2008 and 2010, employers and employees in the province had worked hard to cut down the accident frequency rate by 40%. Yet, during this same period, the Ontario Schedule 1 rate for WSIB fell by only 13%. Again, blame the WSIB’s endless need to improve its finances.

Had this been a private insurance company, while this deficit was building up, the entire senior management echelon of the WSIB – and probably their board of directors – would have been frog-marched out of their ivory towers by angry investors many, many years ago.

If you are unhappy with WSIB and have a complaint, remember that they have an “ombudsperson” who is supposed to moderate some degree of “fairness” in WSIB’s dealings.

This office is supposed to “facilitate fair, equitable and timely resolutions in individual complaints brought by workers, employers and service providers.”

The phone numbers are (416) 603-3010, toll-free 1-866-258-4383.


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15 Comments » for Ontario WSIB: Time to heat up their phone lines at their 'Fair Practices Commission'
  1. Dave Fagin says:

    I totally agree as a small business owner.
    We actually have to go out and earn our income. Many of us are being inundated with rising costs associated with everyday operations that do little or nothing to contribute to the bottom line.
    To even think that this guy will get a bonus sickens me. Here we are trying to keep our heads above water and they are rewarding someone for screwing up.
    When will this bleeding stop!
    This is just another example of the abuse being inflicted upon many honest hard working people.

  2. Jackie Hirt says:

    I agree,
    They want for our province/country to thrive but put every roadblock possible in our way. It gets harder every year to run an honest business and be successful.

  3. harry says:

    and they wonder why the underground market is so strong

  4. ralf says:

    stop doing any work for them, let them fix their own shit, no heat or ac, plumbing electrical drywall etc, maybe they will get the message, is stopped fixing their shit because all their rules, ohh ilike too see them sweat in their 3 piece suits, when the ac don’t work, the t-tstat set at19c they don’t care about saving energy, cause we pay the bill

  5. Mark Mitchell says:

    I have worked with other self employed tradesmen that are so afraid of a wsib claim, that they delayed going to the hospital a few days after breaking a foot (one guy) and another who broke his wrist. Both men worked with casts on, so why do we need need to pay into wsib? We dont make claims, and we would still work, even if its estimating. Looks like another cash grab (like college of trades) to me

  6. Questo says:

    A solution for WSIB, OCOT, ECRA, and others: the majority of Queens park politicians should work in the construction sites before passing stupid bills.

    Only then they may understand how hard is live in this Province, with theirs stupid ideas, just to collect money trough these agencies, and employee a lot of CEO’s for no reason.

    Things can be done much better, in different ways, working together for the real purpose, not for the greedy of someone or some group, or either special interests. Apparently there isn’t a real goal, just collection agencies, serving no purpose at all, it will fail, and I can’t wait to see its failure.

  7. Blair says:

    As an Insurance professional, every day I have people telling me that they are covered through WSIB and that they don’t need personal insurance. When I hear this, I congratulate them on the fact that they’ve never been injured otherwise they would know the real story.

    As you are aware, WSIB only covers the person while they are on the work site and only for injuries. Personal Accident and Sickness insurance, like the one I provide, covers the person 24/7 around the world. In addition, after a certain amount of time, the policy has a return of premium which means if you don’t get injured we return all the premiums back to YOU tax free.

    In the past, I’ve had clients hug and thank me because we were only ones to pay and that money kept their family going.

    Whether you take coverage from me or another provider, please protect yourself and your family. I’ve seen too many families lose everything because of a prolonged accident or sickness.

  8. ralf says:

    hey Blair, where is this extra money coming from, I had to cancel my insurance since the greedy wsib doubled my payment so I have no money left for the private sector which must be hurting since wsib took all their monies

  9. Sean Keane says:

    There are a couple of issues I would like to address here. First to Mark. Far to often we hear these types of stories emanating throughout all industry. Injured workers going to Doctors and telling them they were hurt at home. They know or have heard dealing with WSIB is a nightmare. Some certainly have coverage from other sources IE. union contracts or some form of private coverage. Because of the Ontario rules most insurance schemes only cover for personally injury if the injury occurs of the job. The second point is also real, injured workers forced not to make claims by their employers so the employer does not see an increase in their premium rates. Yet the industry, the media and WSIB turn a blind eye. We hear these stories all the time. One would only assume the powers that be hear the same. The other point you make is exactly that the word FEAR resonates throughout the entire scheme. The worker fears losing their job if they file a claim. The employer fears the damage WSIB can inflict on them if there is more than one injury. This is what happens when the politicians if this Province allowed and continues to allow the WSIB to operate as its own Country. Yes they have created legislation but I can tell you that the WSIB creates its own by calling it board policy. In fact in many cases the policy does not Identify with the act itself.
    For Blair and Ralf both good points yet Ralf has stated the reality of life. In a highly competitive field and more specifically when dealing with a soaring underground economy there is more often than not no money left to pay for two insurances. As far as the insurance industry is concerned, when this legislation was announce may insurance rep’s were informed of the potential ramifications and stood by and did nothing.

  10. Helene says:

    What I don’t understand is why the good people of Ontario re-elected this Liberal government.

  11. Sean keane says:

    Just an update, after reading a lot of comments and more specifically this article about the avenues we have. I wrote the mpp in charge, the minister of labor, after a few back and forth letters I finally received a diplorabke answer.
    Throughout the course of my dilemma I contacted each entity empowered with the protection of the consumer. I began with the office of the employer advisor. I was appointed an ajudicator who basically explained my case was not unique, that I knew, she also explained the probability wsib would win was also something I should understand. She was wrong. In fact another contractor facing the same situation was told the same thing, it was only after the contractir learnt of me and my actions and success did the adjudicator actually act properly. That contractor was also cleared.
    That being said I contacted the head of The employer advisor office for further information and an explanation. After one or two emails he simply decided not to respond. Specifically after I asked him how I could do what his office is paid to do. The lack of response I guess says it all.
    So I then decided to contact the fairness commission once again to no avail, I was simply told the fairness commission is there more to protect the wsib. Any case that they looked at would simply be brought and scrutinized. Their decisin had no real value other than to suggest that the wsib correct the errors going forward.
    So here we now have WSIAT another extension of the wsib madness. Yes they do make decisions about the actions of the wsib, I will add right or wrong. However for example I have looked at more than 300 case decisions dealing with independant operators going back as far as 1992. I estimate 95% or more dealing with the same issue showed a total disregard by the wsib to implement. As fact the wsib continues to act in the same manor completely ignoring WSIAT decisions. There is no justice for anyone dealing with the wsib and in my opinion it’s financial. Every level mention here is in fact funded from the same source.
    Think of it this way, if you get caught drinking and driving your first offence you lose your licence for a year, your second offence upto 5 years, your third you go to jail. Thousands of cases have passed by the hands of these entities all proving the same thing over and over and over again. Yet the wsib continues to inflict the same damage to people time and time again with complete impunity. Now that’s justice.

  12. Lina says:

    WSIB is a great idea, but is not being run properly. The companies pay through the nose and the workers are not allowed to put a claim in and get it accepted. I guess this is where all the money is going.

  13. Mike says:

    I called them several times complain for unfair charges, they don’t listening and care! Just repeatdly some words as a robot! They just following people to get more money and charges as per other insurance company , WSIB is deceptive! And more intersted things is when you wanna to cancel your account with them you should prove your all jobs before and after registration and you will owe them for ever!!!never work with wsib.

  14. Steve says:

    Hello, steve rutherford here, just started my own trucking business and have had nothing but trouble dealing with the government, mto, and lastly the worst, wsib, i have a 10000 dollar truck sitting in my driveway unable to work now for two weeks because of the run around with wsib! I have been in contact with wsib 6 times , everytime a differant person and getting the wrong information everytime costing me time and money, yesterday i had an employee “gosh” that thought something was humourous about my sitiuation, unfortunatly i had to become quite upset with him for laughing and thought it was very unprofessional , so now yesterday another 40 min drive to have the company thats hiring me sign some papers which now i will be into next week seeing as friday is a holiday. Very sad to see how the world is working these days and how people get there jobs when clearly they have no idea how to do them!

  15. Steve says:

    Well said dave fagin

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