The reward for paying down the WSIB’s unfunded liability? Permanent austerity, if you’re an injured worker.

With great fanfare (including breathless tweets) the WSIB announced it has eliminated its unfunded liability, ten years ahead of schedule.

But the fanfare didn’t end there. We also learned who would enjoy the dividend of full funding: employers, who received a massive reduction in premiums: 29.8% on average, amounting to almost $1.5 billion per year.

Our new Minister of Labour celebrated this cut as “just one part of our plan to lower taxes, reduce the regulatory burden, protect and grow jobs, and send a message to the world that Ontario is open for business.” For workers, she had nothing to offer but an anodyne assurance that “workers and their families” can now have “peace of mind” the WSIB will pay them the benefits they’re entitled to under the law.

That the Minister could so openly disregard workers and celebrate giving the entire dividend of full funding to employers is testament to the way employers have captured the narrative about the unfunded liability (UFL). Continue reading