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The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission’s CEO responds to Open Letter from CFIB
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

“The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (the Commission) continues to be committed to meeting the needs of small and medium sized businesses in the province,” reiterated Leslie Galway, CEO of the Commission.  The CEO’s comments are in response to an open letter from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.  In his letter, Mr. Bradley George, the CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs, inaccurately left the impression the Commission would audit employers on a monthly basis if they moved to a monthly payroll reporting system.  “The Commission would continue to audit based on its audit cycle, but would have to review monthly payroll reporting to ensure employers are in compliance,” said Ms. Galway.

Currently employers report to the Commission once a year, and make payments in accordance with the existing payment policy.  However, if employers report on a monthly basis, they would have to report 13 times a year (12 monthly and one annual report) as well as make payments 12 times a year, thereby increasing red tape. 

“Our review of other jurisdictions in Atlantic Canada shows that  there has been minimal take up of monthly reporting options with the exception of Nova Scotia where monthly reporting is mandatory,” explained Ms. Galway. 

“We have stepped up to the plate for small and medium-sized businesses by introducing  an interest-free, pre-authorized debit payment plan whereby payments are deducted from April to October. This system does not require any regular monthly payments from January to March, providing small and medium- sized businesses with a 10 month extended payment program.”

The Commission did confer with business owners across the province in the fall of 2008 by conducting an employers’ survey, which was conducted by Corporate Research Associates, an independent and established research firm.  Results from the survey, which polled 500 employers province-wide shows limited support for the actual payroll reporting on a monthly basis. Only 30 per cent of employers support reporting their actual payroll more than once a year and of this 30 per cent, two-thirds of these employers would prefer to report their actual payroll on a quarterly basis, while a monthly reporting schedule would appeal to a much smaller percentage.   Once the survey results have been analyzed by Commission officials, it will be publically released.

The Commission plans to hold further consultations with employers and encourages employers to contact the Commission with any concerns they may have over reporting and payment of assessments.

Deborah Inkpen
Director of Communications
Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission
Telephone: 709-778-1590 or 1-800-563-9000 

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