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The cash economy Part 2

The battle against the cash economy starts with getting rid of the WSIB


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March 10, 2015 by Robert Koci

In my last post on the cash economy, I said I had would some suggestions for solving the problem of legitimate contractors having to compete against it.

My first suggestions are necessarily going to relate to the Ontario situation because, frankly, it’s Ontario that has the biggest problem and needs the most help.

Without a doubt, the biggest administrative headache for Ontario contractors is the WSIB. Not only is it extraordinarily expensive, it is administratively complex. We have gone over the problems with the WSIB at length in other posts, so I’ll go directly to the solution: Workplace insurance needs to be privatized. Anyone who wants to work on a job site needs to have a card indicating they are registered with some insurance provider in the same way we do with our car insurance. No insurance, you’re off the job. Simple. And you pay your own. There is no administrative requirement from the general contractor except to look at your card.

say no

The government can regulate what the insurance covers, just as it does with car insurance. Insurance companies can sell any insurance they like as long as it conforms to the legislated requirements.

What about the WSIB’s unfunded liability, currently sitting about $9 billion? It becomes a line item on everyone’s insurance premium, just like Ontario Hydro’s is listed on everyone heating bill. Eventually it will be paid, but more importantly, it will stop growing.

The only thing this idea needs is a change in government. The current Liberal government has no interest in privatizing anything so patience is necessary. However, it’s an idea whose implementation is overdue. In five years, Ontarians can make it happen.

What do you think?


Robert Koci

Robert Koci

Rob Koci is the publisher of Canadian Contractor magazine. rkoci@canadiancontractor.ca Tel. 647-407-0754
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4 Comments » for The cash economy Part 2
  1. Totally agree with you Rob.

    Bill 119 the mandatory cover shoved down the throats of many self employed caused many to give cancel their personal cover. Not wanting to pay into two coverages.

    Many gave up their sickness coverage after Bill 119 arrived.

    I have two contractors off disabled right now with prostrate cancer and they chose to keep their private coverages after Bill 119 arrived. Thank goodness. Both are off work getting monthly claim cheques from the private insurance companies like Manulife and more.

    Both have beed off work 12 months.

    WSIB DOES NOT COVER CANCER, HEART ATTACKS OR STROKES.

    Time to ditch WSIB….

  2. Jim Baird says:

    Why can’t worker insurance be handled through E.I.? Essentially, if you are off because of an injury, you are temporarily unemployed. Just like if you were laid off due to weather, or injured skiing or with a sickness. It all boils down to not being able to go to your job. E.I. already has much of the infrastructure in place, runs much more efficiently and the costs are spread out over the entire population to even out the highs and lows. You don’t see seasonal worker companies paying a higher E.I. rate that others. It’s a much more sensible system.

  3. Steve Ryan says:

    Going to private disability insurance will not eliminate the core problem with WSIB. The massive unfunded liability at WSIB stems from the fact that injured workers have been granted benefits whether or not their employer paid their premium. WSIB has been extending coverage to large numbers of workers who, in a private insurance scenario would not be covered. (as an aside, do you think there might be a correlation between sketchy workplace safety and a fly-by-night, won’t pay his bills employer). If we depended on private insurance it’s safe to say the province would still cover injured workers whose employers had no insurance. The unfunded liability would continue to grow.

    Beyond this, the one benefit public workplace safety insurance does provide to employers would evaporate and injured workers would be free to sue employers and property owners. Cue the ambulance-chasing lawyers, their market just exploded.

    This is by no means an attempt to defend WSIB. They are a horribly administered public entity. But, to bend a common saying to the purpose, “Don’t hate the game, hate the player”.

  4. ralf says:

    ya i had to cancel my private insurance, cannot afford both, hope i never get sick cause then i am done for, thank you WSIB you crooks