Non-residential construction sector will benefit from WSIB rate reclassification because of safety success: OGCA

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, has approved a regulation to reclassify the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) G1 rate for non-residential construction in 2021, the Ontario General Contractors’ Association (OGCA) says.

“As a result, contractors will be rewarded for their performance and save a considerable amount that can be reinvested in job training, health and safety technology and other essential resources,” Erich Schmidt, the association’s government and stakeholder relations associate, said in a statement last Wednesday.

Schmidt said McNaughton made the announcement at a League of Champions webinar.

“Labour Employment and HR Hotspots in Working with COVID-19” on June 17. McNaughton participated in the event with Norm Keith from Fasken and Mike Sherrard from Sherrard Kuzz LLP.

“The reclassification of the WSIB G1 rate for ICI construction in 2021 is a recognition of the sector’s ongoing improvement in health and safety. The rate reduction recognizes that the WSIB’s commitment to keeping its assessment model responsive to performance,” outgoing OGCA president Clive Thurston said in a statement.

“We welcome news to OGCA members and our sector as a whole. As members of the League of Champions, we are continually renewing our commitment to safety on all worksites. This announcement by Minister McNaughton is an acknowledgement of our efforts over the past six years.”

Thurston’s successor, Giovanni Cautillo, said: “The Minister of Labour’s approval of the WSIB’s G1 rate reclassification for non-residential construction has been a long term effort by the OGCA. As the incoming President of Ontario’s largest representative association in the construction industry, I am truly proud of our member’s continued commitment to health and safety. The OGCA and the League of Champions have shown real leadership in the construction industry and truly deserve the G1 rate reclassification.”

WSIB data indicates that the non-residential construction sector has fared much better than the residential sector in claims compared to premium rates in 2020.

The projected “percentage of class” among the 3,894 non-residential contractors “below class rate for 2020 is 83 per cent, with only 17 per cent above the class rate. The story much different for the residential sector, where only two per cent are projected to be below the class rate while 98 per cent are above.

There are many more residential contractors – 22,107 – than non-residential building construction businesses.

At the presentation, McNaughton said: “The change recognizes that the residential and non-residential sectors are large enough to be their own separate classes, and for the premium rates attached to each reflect the different risk profiles for each.” He said the split will be brought before the provincial cabinet to be put into law after WSIB’s board of directors voted to amend its general regulation 175/98 to allow the change.

The impact on future WSIB premiums is still unclear. The WSIB usually releases its premiums for the next year in September.

At the webinar, McNaughton also reported the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Developed had entered into a partnership with the OGCA to support the League of Champions program with $75,000 in funding.

League of Champions chair Craig Lesurf says the group has established a steering committee to decide how to use the funding. “We will be supporting members and the construction industry as a whole,” he said.


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