The Generals - Spring/Summer 2014 - (Page 24)

FEATURE THE WINDS of Transform the WSIB CHANGE Help By Patrick McConnell Our primary objective is for safe and healthy workplaces and to ensure sustainability of the WSIB endures for future generations. 24 T 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 View this issue online at 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

Chairman’s Message
President’s Message
Member Milestones
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