Letter: Why WCB should be available to COVID victims

The Federal Government made available CERB, CRB, EI changes, to help workers affected by COVID.
I think a mistake has been made in not utilizing WCB for actual workers, especially those working in outbreak situations.

Businesses are assessed and charged based on formulas for their industry. Increases to their payments are assessed because of incidents that take an individual business over the norm, and the increases affect the individual business for a number of years. The “penalty” then impacts those businesses that have not, in theory, practiced the safety and employee awareness to protect staff and the business itself. In theory, abuser pays.

Instead, as example, a long-term care facility that did not maintain a stock of PPE, training, staffing, ventilation, etc., will not see an increase to their WCB premiums (taxes) because all taxpayers will bear the brunt, and their profitability is protected. Non related businesses will also take the hit due to closures, etc.

An argument can be made that government and the WCB reacted poorly to standards and inspections after SARS and other outbreaks, but at the end of the day, while we focus on the long term care, meat plants, etc. that had outbreaks, while many more had none, yet they will see increases in their taxes as well.

For the employee, WCB payments are not taxed. While the payout is less than the CERB, etc. since it is not taxable, the net result is that their income, and therefore their yearend tax bracket is potentially not “bumped” into a higher tax level. Instead, their overall bracket is lowered, potentially resulting in a refund from regular taxing.

The Federal Government programs continue the “society pays” vs the “individual accountability” that WCB would assess.

Alan Otway

Morinville

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