The WSIB is updating its compliance program to help those who may need assistance and identify those that may try to evade their labour obligations. Officials from the WSIB recently participated in a conference call with a select group of OTA members on the Driver Inc. file and noted they would now be taking a more targeted enforcement approach toward the trucking sector.
OTA expects that going forward the WSIB will be dedicating a larger proportion of its enforcement team’s time to the trucking sector. OTA says the WSIB will focus enforcement on high risk employers and those suspected of non-compliance.
“It is fairly easy to see who is not reporting properly. When you have companies with huge capital investments on the books in terms of their equipment but at the same time are reporting little or no payroll for drivers, then the writing is on the wall and makes them a prime target for an audit,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski, adding this would also be the case for CRA and ESDC audits as well.
The WSIB and CRA have a formal information sharing program and OTA suspects that sharing information related to Driver Inc. could already be happening. Inspectors noted they are aware of attempts to find loopholes in the system by abusers or non-compliant businesses across all sectors – they have a variety of tools and resources to help discover non-compliant behaviour, such as ‘never-never leases.’
“It’s pretty clear that the WSIB is all over this scheme and have clear formulas that will easily determine if leases are legitimate or not,” said Laskowski.
“Audits are one part of our compliance program,” said Tom Bell, WSIB Chief Risk Officer. “We are moving to a risk-based model that will make our targeted audits more effective and not burden those who are already meeting their obligations. Under this risk-based model any businesses who are non-compliant will be identified.”
OTA members also suggested a crackdown related to clearance certificates is also likely warranted in the trucking sector. “Certainly, the WSIB knows this is an issue and we expect this to be a heightened area of focus as well,” added Laskowski.
As the WSIB moves toward the implementation of their new rate setting system, known as the rate framework, a high priority must be placed on ensuring compliance. At the core of the rate framework is the belief that a company’s rates should be better pegged to their actual performance.
“While this is consistent with longstanding principles held by OTA, it is only meaningful and acceptable if the WSIB can ensure everyone is playing by the same rules,” said Laskowski.