The Generals - Spring/Summer 2014 - (Page 24)
of Transform the WSIB
By Patrick McConnell
Our primary objective
is for safe and healthy
workplaces and to ensure
sustainability of the
WSIB endures for future
he adage "you can't teach an old dog new
tricks" is an expression that has been
banned from the corporate culture of
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
As the WSIB embarks on its second century
of service to workers and employers in Ontario,
it is doing so in an environment that may never
have been envisioned by its founder, Sir William
Meredith. Ontario has witnessed industrialization, immigration, unionization, globalization,
two world wars, revolutions in technology, the
widespread entry of women into the workforce,
off-shoring, outsourcing, temporary employment, and major demographic change: an aging
population - and with it, an aging workforce.
Successfully adapting to change and capitalizing on innovation is key to the success and
longevity of any organization. And so goes the
modern story of the fourth largest insurance
organization in North America - administering
workplace coverage for over 250,000 Ontario
employers and four million workers.
The WSIB is on a course of transformation,
making sweeping changes in the way it does
business while remaining true to its core values.
One person who is instrumental in steering that
course is Elizabeth Witmer. After a lengthy and
successful political career, Witmer retired from
provincial politics a couple of years ago and
jumped on board as the new Chair of the WSIB.
It was a tough time, as the board was facing a
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crippling $14 billion unfunded liability and was
under heavy public scrutiny and a legislative
mandate to bring its finances under control.
"It was a time in my life when I was ready for
a new challenge," Witmer recalls during a candid
and wide-ranging interview with The Generals.
It took her about of month of soul-searching
and consulting with close friends and those
who knew the WSIB system before accepting
the offer. It's not like she was unfamiliar with
the WSIB operations, having been closely connected with its operations as a former Minister of
Labour. "I welcomed the challenge to return the
Board to fiscal responsibility and sustainability;
to ensure it would be here for future generations," she says, adding, "The Board offers a
very important service to workers and employers
and must contribute to economic growth and
productivity in Ontario. I have not regretted even
one minute that I have made this decision."
In classic Witmer style, she has crisscrossed
the province, meeting with workers, employers,
and stakeholder groups to get a pulse of what is
needed and to listen to concerns and challenges
that confront the board's operations every day.
"It is very important as you move forward and
make decisions to have a good understanding
of what the stakeholders are concerned about
and what they want to see happen."
It goes without saying that what people want
to see happen is as diverse as the stakeholder
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Generals - Spring/Summer 2014
Government Relations Report
Index to Advertisers
Partnering: The Deliberate Creation of Culture that Supports Collaboration
75th AGM and Conference – Scottsdale, Arizona
2014 Conference: Las Vegas
OGCA Affinity Program
OGCA 75th Anniversary Gala
The Winds of Change Help Transform the WSIB
COR Designation Provides Safety to Construction Workers and Buyers
Thinking, Working, Growing: Ledcor Group
Bill C-45: Ten Years Later
Workshield Health and Safety Solutions Inc. Formed to Meet the Requirements of New Legislation (297/13)
The Generals - Spring/Summer 2014