Gateway Gazette

Better Late than Never, Small Business Owners Pleased WCB Rebates Excess Funds

$355 million refunded to employers after months of pressure from CFIB 

CALGARY – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) move to refund surplus funds to employers across Alberta.  Surplus funding will be credited to eligible businesses’ WCB accounts this week.

“This long awaited news is applauded by employers across the province.  When the board accumulates excess funds well beyond what is reasonable it deprives employers of crucial resources they could be putting to productive use inside their businesses,” said Amber Ruddy Alberta Director for CFIB.

In a CFIB survey from November 2017, entrepreneurs were asked: Should the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) continue to rebate surplus funds to employers?

  • 93 per cent agreed
  • 2 per cent disagreed
  • 3 per cent were undecided
  • 2 per cent had no interest

The board’s decision to provide rebates is usually finalized each year in June.  In 2017, the board postponed a decision so that recommendations from the WCB review panel could be considered.  “The Alberta government has no place directing the independent WCB on the handling of a surplus in the fund.  CFIB is pleased the government has stopped eyeing this money for political motives,” said Ruddy. 

WCB has a targeted funded position of between 114 per cent and 128 per cent, often referred to as the ‘green zone’.  A refund is triggered if the funded position goes over the 128 per cent threshold.  This year Alberta’s WCB reached a funded position of close to 134 per cent.  But the refund was put on hold by the board pending the outcome of the WCB review. 

CFIB has long advocated to move to a targeted funded position of 110 per cent. This would put an additional billion and a half dollar into the hands of employers to invest in jobs, as well as new and safer equipment, while maintaining strong rehabilitation and workplace protection for employees. 

The November 2017 survey findings are based on 773 CFIB member responses to a controlled-access web survey.

WCB Employer Fact Sheet- FAQ about funding distribution credits

Recent CFIB report: Finding Funding Fairness 

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

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