COCA Report to the Membership – January 2020
Council of Ontario Construction Associations
Report to the Membership
COCA’s primary role is to work with our members and senior officials at Queen’s Park to ensure that the province’s laws, regulations and policies support success in the construction industry. This government relations work is the backbone of COCA’s being, and it’s our “raison d’etre.” Here are some highlights of our government relations work in 2019:
- a. Prompt Payment and Adjudication
Under pressure from COCA and other industry interests, the prompt payment and adjudication provisions of the Construction Act came into force as scheduled on October 1, 2019
- b. Reduced 2020 WSIB Premium Rates
COCA’s WSIB-Occupational Health and Safety Committee continues to advocate for WSIB premium rates that reflect the cost of new injuries accurately and are assigned fairly. At its Annual Meeting in September, the WSIB announced lower employer premium rates for 2020. The unfunded liability had been slain a year earlier and for 2020 the past claims cost charge was removed from the premium calculation.
- c. Accreditation Standard
COCA’s WSIB-Occupational Health and Safety Committee has been working on a health and safety “Accreditation” program for more than ten years. Our work on this file goes back before the time of the Tony Dean Expert Panel Report when the responsibility for Prevention programs and services resided at the WSIB. Accreditation is designed to recognize and reward the very best performing employers in order to inspire others to pull up their socks and follow their lead.
Since the transfer of Prevention to the then newly formed Prevention Office at the then Ministry of Labour, we have continued to work with the two successive Chief Prevention Officers and their staffs on the development and implementation of an Accreditation Standard. It had been ready to go for about two years before it was finally launched in December 2029. Accreditation is aligned with the most commonly used health and safety management systems and the Ontario version of the Certificate of Recognition (CoR) has been enhanced as “Ontario CoR 2020” to align with the Accreditation Standard. Employers who apply for and receive Accreditation status will receive financial rewards to help offset the costs of achieving this program.
- d. The WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence Program (HSEP)
COCA’s WSIB-Occupational Health and Safety Committee had been working with the WSIB for several years on the development of this brilliantly designed new program. It replaces the WSIB’s three prevention programs, Safety Groups, Workwell and Safe Communities Incentive Program (SCIP). Many member associations who have been Safety Groups sponsors also worked with the WSIB on the advisory committee established to help guide the development of this new program. Employers who embrace health and safety excellence by joining and completing the HSEP journey should be ready to apply for Accreditation status. The HSEP was launched in December along with the Accreditation Standard as part of the “Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers” (SOSE) program.
- e. Implementation of WSIB’s Rate Framework
Against the objections of a number of employer interests, COCA pressed the WSIB for the implementation of the Rate Framework on January 1, 2020. The Rate Framework includes a new classification system based on the more modern North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), a new employer-centric rate-setting process and a single new experience rating program that applies to all employers in the system. As we had hoped, the Rate Framework came into force on January 1, 2020. The Rate Framework represents massive change at the WSIB so we can expect some bumps along the road. We look forward to working collaboratively with the WSIB to resolve any issues that
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