Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is improving incentives for businesses with fewer than 99 employees to invest in health and safety. A new pandemic bonus will double rebates eligible businesses can earn for each topic they complete in the WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence program.
“We know Ontario businesses work to have the safest workplaces anywhere, but many smaller businesses are still recovering from the pandemic,” said Jeffery Lang, president and CEO of the WSIB. “We are stepping up with added incentives to help get more businesses investing in health and safety right now.”
The health and safety excellence program connects Ontario businesses with approved providers in their industry or community who help design a plan based on 36 available health and safety topics. For each topic completed and validated, businesses can earn a rebate on their WSIB premiums. Since 2020, over $21 million in rebates have been issued to Ontario businesses.
Lang toured Kitchener-Waterloo construction company SG Cunningham to see how the program is helping smaller businesses.
“The health and safety excellence program has helped us build out our own program while earning premium rebates,” said Beverley Cunningham, VP Health and Safety and Communications at SG Cunningham. “I think this added incentive will get more businesses like ours into the program which should ultimately mean fewer injuries.”
The new pandemic bonus for smaller businesses will:
- double the rebate for topics completed in 2022
- retroactively double the rebate for topics completed since March 2020 for eligible businesses who enroll in new topics this year
- pay an additional $1,000 toward the development of action plans in 2022
When the Health and Safety Excellence program launched in November 2019, there was a cap on rebates with small businesses able to earn up to 75% of their premium back. Now that cap is also being removed.
“We are firmly planting our stake in the ground to say we’re serious about helping small business to develop and implement strong health and safety programs in Ontario,” said Rod Cook, Vice President of Workplace Health and Safety Services at the WSIB.
Information is available atwsib.ca/healthandsafety.