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How health and safety can affect your WSIB premiums

WSIB premiums

Do you know that having a solid health and safety program that gets positive results can save you money?

Under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s (WSIB) new premium rate-setting model, which comes into effect on January 1, 2020, your individual claims experience will be taken into consideration when your premium is set. You can learn all about the new model and how it will work further down in this article.

As we move closer to the implementation of the new rate-setting model, you can start making a difference now to improve your safety experience. Managing the risks in your workplace with the right health and safety practices is the key and both WSPS and the WSIB offer many resources to help you do this effectively.

In November, the WSIB will be launching a new health and safety excellence program that will provide a clear roadmap for businesses to improve workplace safety. Success in the new program can lead to rebates and an improved health and safety record can help lower premium rates. As a WSIB-approved provider, WSPS will deliver the program, creating better access and support for more businesses across the province. Stay tuned for details!

Managing risks

To help you get a comprehensive picture of how your company is doing in terms of claims and costs, and which areas you need to tackle in terms of health and safety, check out the WSIB’s online Compass tool. “With just a few clicks,” says Stephen Shaw, Director of Integrated Operations for WSPS, “Compass gives you a picture of where injuries are happening in your workplace, what group of workers is being injured, and what types of injuries they are incurring. You can also compare your business’s injury history to other businesses. This benefits your business and everyone in it. For instance, if the statistics indicate your workplace’s most common injury is strains and sprains, then it may be time to conduct a risk assessment of those areas and the processes involved.”

Watch for enhancements to Compass coming in late fall, such as these additional claim level details:

  • claims registered
  • claim costs
  • costliest types of claims
  • return-to-work statistics
  • premium and rate information

About the WSIB’s new premium rate model

On January 1, 2020, the WSIB will implement a new way of setting premium rates for almost 300,000 businesses across Ontario. In connection with this, businesses will receive their 2020 individual and class premium rates this September.

The new model will make it easier to understand how your business and other businesses are classified. It will also better reflect your individual claims experience and help businesses plan for the future by providing projected rate information.

What’s changing with the new model?

First, the WSIB will begin using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) - a system already used by the Canada Revenue Agency and Statistics Canada - making it easier for you to understand your classification. Using NAICS will allow the WSIB to move 155 different rate groups to a more simplified structure of 34 classes/subclasses.

Second, the WSIB will make your premium rate easier to understand by setting an average rate for each class based on its risk profile and share of responsibility to maintain the insurance fund.

Each NAICS class will then be broken down into a series of risk bands, each with an associated premium rate.

Using your specific claims history the WSIB will create a risk profile that compares your risk to the rest of the businesses in your class. Businesses in the same class with similar risk profiles will then be assigned to the same risk band and premium rate that reflects their individual risk profile. The difference between each risk band will be approximately five per cent.

Third, businesses will no longer have to wait for rebates or surcharges, as the current retrospective approach to rate setting, including MAP, NEER and CAD7 experience rating programs, will be eliminated. Additionally, the new model will introduce projected rates, providing your business with the future direction of your rates, up or down.

Moving to the new model

To help you smoothly transition to the new model, any initial projected rate increases affecting your business will be staggered over time. Here’s how the transition will work.

1. Businesses with projected premium rate increases

  • In 2021, businesses with projected premium rate increases will move up a maximum of one risk band from their 2020 risk band.
  • In 2022, businesses that have not yet reached their projected premium rate will move up a maximum of two risk bands above their 2021 risk band.

2. Businesses with projected premium rate decreases

  • Any projected rate decreases have been applied to your 2020 rates. This will also happen in 2021 and 2022.

Starting in 2023, the premium rate setting policies under the new model will be fully in effect. Businesses with projected premium rate increases or decreases will see their rates move up or down a maximum of three risk bands each year until they reach their projected premium rate, protecting them from any sudden changes to their premium rates.

For more on the new premium rate-setting model, visit or email