Gateway Gazette

Employers Welcome $507 Million WCB Refund

 

Business owners want refund of surplus triggered at a more reasonable level

CALGARY – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes the half billion dollar surplus distribution from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to employers across Alberta.  In a letter to CFIB dated May 14th, 2015, WCB President Guy Kerr announced $507 million in surplus funding will be distributed to registered businesses.

The workers’ compensation system is entirely funded by employers. WCB has a targeted funded position of between 114 per cent and 128 per cent.  A refund is triggered if the funded position goes over the 128 per cent threshold.  In 2014, the number climbed to 136 per cent, leading to $507 billion being refunded to employers, on top of the $511 million triggered at 132 per cent last year.  WCB attributes large surpluses to higher than expected returns and positive operating results.

“With over a billion dollars being refunded in the last two years, Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board is sitting on a massive pile of employer money.  It’s time to examine those funding targets so entrepreneurs can be assured the Board’s financial position is sound, but not overly cautious”, says CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst, Amber Ruddy.

New CFIB survey results show entrepreneurs want WCB to take a more reasonable approach.  When Alberta business owners were asked

Should the point at which WCB-Alberta provides refunds to employers be lowered?

·         59 per cent agreed

·         25 per cent disagreed

·         13 per cent were undecided

·         3 per cent had no interest

“Giving employers more of their money back will let them focus on growing their business, creating jobs, and investing in new and safer equipment.  A funding ratio of 120 per cent, for instance, would be more than enough to fulfill benefit obligations to workers and minimize volatility of premiums”, says Ruddy.

The web-based, controlled-access CFIB member survey had 649 responses. Findings were collected in the fall of 2014.

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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