VICTORIA – The government intends to amend the Workers Compensation Act to establish a new policy requiring WorkSafeBC to return funds to employers when it has a surplus of contributions from employers in the Accident Fund.
WorkSafeBC collects premiums from employers based on their payroll and uses the funds go into a reserve for future liabilities.
WorkSafeBC also generates additional income from the investment of the funds it collects from employers. Government does not provide WorkSafeBC any funding.
WorkSafeBC currently has more assets than liabilities in the Accident Fund as a result of the accumulation of funds. The current legislation does not provide explicit direction on how to manage this surplus.
By amending the act, the Province will address this gap in legislation to ensure that there is a process to manage the surplus funds collected from employers.
The resulting policy will trigger a return of funds to employers when WorkSafeBC’s funding hits a specific target level of assets over liabilities over a period of time.
The amendment will not affect the benefits payable to workers injured at work, but it should protect against severe fluctuations in premium rates that employers have to pay.
In 2015, WorkSafeBC’s assets exceeded liabilities by $4.5 billion – meaning the fund is nearly 40 per cent over-funded which means it is overfunded beyond what is reasonably needed and this is unfair to employers.
Over 1,700 petitions were delivered to WorkSafeBC by CFIB members about the issue, saying that employers are the only contributors to the fund, and thus excess funds should be returned to employers to re-invest in their business and employees.
– files from Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour and Canadian Federation of Independent Business media release