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Protest against mandatory WSIB coverage headed to Ottawa

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A group of construction employers will be protesting mandatory Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage in Ottawa on Feb. 12.

A group of construction employers will be protesting mandatory Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage in Ottawa on Feb. 12.

"The mission of the WSIB is to help workers who are injured to return to work but this new law does nothing to improve worker safety,” said organizer Juliette Forgues, Controller at Les Fondations Brisson Inc. in a news release. "We want to repeal the statutory obligations created by Bill 119 and give the contractors the choice between private and provincial insurance."

Bill 119 became law on Jan. 1, 2013 and requires independent operators, sole proprietors, some partners in a partnership and some executive officers who work in the Ontario construction industry to have WSWIB coverage. The legislation currently does not apply to workers who only work in the residential construction industry.

The group says that with the added expense of mandatory coverage, companies will have no choice but to raise the price of their services.

In a previous interview with the Daily Commercial News, labour minister Linda Jeffrey said the bill levels the playing field and will help combat the underground economy.

The bill received Royal Assent in 2008 and the WSIB conducted an education campaign and voluntary registration in 2012. This year has been highlighted as an education year and penalties will come into effect in 2014.

The protest will begin at 9 a.m. at the WSIB office on Kent Street and then visit the Ministry of Labour office on Preston Street.

The group recently launched www.stopwsibbill119.com to help spread information about the cause.

Other demonstrations against Bill 119 are planned across the province on Feb. 12.

Follow @DCN_Canada on Twitter for more construction news.

DCN NEWS SERVICES

by Casselman, Ont.

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