The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has shifted from conducting random audits to risk-based audits to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share. As a result, the WSIB will look more closely at carriers using the Driver Inc. model to avoid paying premiums.
The WSIB has already conducted audits of two trucking companies, each of which has had corrective debit adjustments of over $200,000. The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) expects more of these corrective measures as the targeted enforcement continues in our sector.
These instances of noncompliance should also raise questions for shippers, reminding them that it is incumbent upon them to ensure the carriers they use have the proper coverage.
When an injury or illness happens on the job the WSIB is there to provide wage-loss benefits, medical coverage and support to help people get back to work. In turn, these efforts are funded by businesses through the premium rates they pay. Together, this ensures Ontario’s workers have the coverage they need should anything ever happen on the job.
It’s important that drivers and shippers understand what is at stake, says OTA chair David Carruth.
“If you are working for a Driver Inc. company, chances are they are not paying for your WSIB coverage. This means if you aren’t paying out of your own pocket for coverage and something happens to you on the job, you could find yourself without any financial support,” he says. “Both OTA and the WSIB know that through the prevalence of Driver Inc., not everyone is playing by the rules and paying their fair share, leaving some drivers vulnerable. We are encouraged WSIB has recognized this is a major problem and is focusing on making sure that businesses are paying what they should be for covering their drivers.”
Carruth commends the WSIB for taking a tough stand on Driver Inc. and for employing a data-driven approach to identify anomalies in the records of carriers who adopt the Driver Inc scheme.
“The bottom line is if you are a carrier who is doing things by the book, you’ll be fine,” says Carruth. “But if your business model is based on trying to skirt the rules, it will catch up with you.”