Mississauga firms: new WSIB premiums make things worse

New workers compensation fees that kick in next year are going to cost Mississauga companies thousands of dollars and could force some to hike charges to their own customers.

“We might have to increase prices, making us less competitive,” said Joe De Gasperis, general manager of Superior Door and Gate Systems Inc., a company that supplies the building industry.

“We might not be able to get as many jobs and it’s definitely a kick in the stomach,” De Gasperis told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced this week that companies will have to pay higher worker compensation premiums starting Jan. 1.

Small business leaders criticized the fee increases, saying it may force companies to lay off workers, postpone new hiring, or scale back planned expansions because of the higher costs in doing business.

Builders who face higher charges might even pass along the costs to buyers of houses, condos and commercial and other properties.

De Gasperis said his Mississauga company is already paying a significant amount to the board in premiums to help pay compensation to injured workers.

“We’re paying 13 per cent already, which is a lot of money,” he said, attributing the high rates to his company’s line of work on the ground.

“Increasing it to 15 per cent is even more money. It’s something we didn’t expect and it’s something we didn’t want but what can we do?”

Located on American Dr., the garage door, fencing and security company employs more than 60 people and has been in business in Mississauga since 1977.

The provincial agency said late Wednesday rates would increase 2.5 per cent for all companies in 2013.

The move is meant to help reduce the massive unfunded liability of $14.2 billion over the next few years.

Started in 1914, the WSIB is the worker’s compensation insurer for Ontario, legislated by the Ontario government. The WSIB is responsible for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, which protects employers from lawsuits in exchange for premiums that give workers guaranteed compensation and benefits for accepted claims.

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