Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has nominated former labour minister Elizabeth Witmer as chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
Under a previous government, Witmer had also served as minister of education, minister of the environment, and as deputy premier. Witmer takes over from outgoing chair Steve Mahoney, who announced his retirement in March.
"Elizabeth Witmer is exceptionally qualified to be the Chair of the WSIB,” said McGuinty when announcing the nomination. “Elizabeth will bring strong leadership to the WSIB board as they work to eliminate the unfunded liability while helping injured workers and reducing red tape for businesses."
The WSIB provides disability benefits, monitors the quality of health care, and assists in early, safe return to work for workers injured on the job, or who contract an occupational disease. It is funded entirely by employer premiums.
One of the priorities facing the new chair will be implementing recommendations of the Harry Arthurs Funding Review, expected to be released shortly. In September 2010, the WSIB asked Professor Arthurs to conduct an independent, arm’s length funding review that would provide advice on dealing with the WSIB’s unfunded liability, which stands at about $12.3 billion. Among the considerations are
- how to achieve full funding of the insurance fund
- effectiveness of the rategroup structure and the premiumsetting methodology
- design of employer incentive programs
As part of the review, Arthurs conducted extensive consultations with stakeholders.