Out with the Old, in with the (New) Rate Framework

  • October 11, 2019
  • James Jennings

Effective January 1, 2020, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (the “WSIB”) will replace its current system of employer classifications, premiums, and experience rating programs for Schedule 1 employers with a new “Rate Framework”. Experience rating programs will be eliminated and employers will instead pay fluctuating premium rates.

To date, the WSIB has released advanced copies of ten new policies that support the implementation of the Rate Framework. This article is a general overview of the changes as reflected in those policies. The special rules applicable to temporary employment agencies and non-profit organizations will not be addressed in this article.

Employer Classification

Schedule 1 of O. Reg. 175/98: General will be amended (the “Amended Schedule 1”) and split into two parts. Part I sets out the business activities that will be subject to mandatory coverage and for which employers will have to pay premiums. Part II sets out the business activities exempted from mandatory coverage, but for which employers may still apply for Schedule 1 insurance coverage. The Rate Framework does not impose any significant changes on Schedule 2 employers.

Under the Rate Framework, the current system of Rate Groups and Classification Units will be replaced with more than 900 North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”) Codes. Each NAICS Code falls into one of the 34 “Classes” or “Subclasses” listed in the Amended Schedule 1. Depending on their assigned NAICS Code, employers may become excluded from mandatory coverage while others may see a relative increase or decrease in premium rates.