Ontario employers have a new opportunity to earn rebates through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's just-launched Health and Safety Excellence program.
This performance-based incentive program integrates the strengths of the WSIB's previous Small Business, Safety Groups and Workwell programs, and provides a clear road map for Ontario businesses to earn rebates and other forms of recognition by improving workplace health and safety. The rebate structure is based on a business' ability to impact its premium rate, in line with the WSIB's new premium rate-setting model, which came into effect on January 1, 2020.
"One of the program's strengths," says WSPS Health & Safety Excellence program Consultant Kristina Dragun, "is that it allows an employer to do as much as the business is able to handle. Participating businesses choose from one to five health and safety topics in a 12-month cycle to work on. They determine when to start and control their progress. The rebates they earn will reflect their success with the topic(s) they've chosen."
Is the WSIB's Health and Safety Excellence program a good fit for your workplace? Find out through the following FAQs.
How does the program work?
The program includes 36 health and safety topics. Employers choose 1 to 5 topics to work on over a 12-month period, and receive recognition for successfully completing each topic.
There are three phases to this program: registration, implementation and validation. During the registration phase, employers sign up with WSPS (or another approved program provider), access their WSIB online portal, complete a needs assessment, and submit an action plan. The implementation phase begins once the WSIB has received the action plan. Employers have 12 months to implement their chosen topics and submit evidence of implementation. Once the WSIB validates the results, employers receive a rebate.
We don't have someone dedicated to health and safety full time. Is the program still a good fit for my business?
As long as you're dedicated to improving health and safety, this is a good fit. You choose how many topics to implement, and fit it into what your business can manage, based on its needs, objectives and resources.
How is the HSE program different from Safety Groups?
There are significant differences, the main difference being that rebates are based on the employers' individual scores rather than a group score. Employers will receive rebates for each topic they successfully implement. They can do as many or as few topics as they wish in a year, up to a maximum of five, and participate in as many provider-offered services as they choose.
My company did well in WSPS' Safety Group. Will it do as well in the Excellence program?
As long as you implement your chosen topics and submit evidence, and the evidence is validated successfully by the WSIB, you will succeed in this program. As rebates are individual and not group based, you could receive bigger rebates. Also, with the introduction of new non-financial recognition, there will be more ways for you to share your health and safety accomplishments with your managers, employees and customers.
If my employer hasn't participated in WSPS' Safety Group, will we be at a disadvantage?
This would not hinder you in any way. The Health and Safety Excellence program does not require a company to have previously been involved in Safety Groups.
What support can program providers like WSPS provide?
Program providers ensure that employers have all the support they need to work through their topics. For example, WSPS offers
- a dedicated Excellence Guide to direct you through the program
- access to WSPS' team of health and safety experts
- assistance navigating the WSIB online platform
- an onsite visit before you submit evidence to the WSIB
- a 10% discount on select WSPS training, conferences, workshops and consulting, and more
What's my next step?
Join a WSIB info session for more details and check their website to see what all the providers are offering.