(QUEEN'S PARK) - MPP Randy Hillier, Ontario PC Labour Critic, joined hundreds of contractors from across Ontario today calling on Premier Wynne to repeal Bill 119. The demonstration was a culmination of protests and town halls across Ontario that promoted awareness of the job-killing policy implemented on January 1, 2013. Today, Hillier also introduced new legislation that will repeal Bill 119 as well introduce much needed competition to workplace safety by opening the market to private insurance companies.
In 2009, the Liberal Government passed Bill 119 forcing approximately 100,000 independant contractors and small business owners to pay mandatory WSIB premiums to insure themselves, something they have always been exempt from, and for good reason. These individuals have always purchased private insurance that protected them 24/7, on and off the job site, which WSIB by mandate cannot provide.
"Bill 119 has been sold to the public as a means to prevent an underground economy here in Ontario," said Hillier. "Unfortunately the reality is that the actual result will be forcing businesses to choose between illegally operating in an underground economy or going out of business - a lose-lose outcome."
As a result, these hardworking businesses are being forced to pay six to seven times more for insurance that provides less protection than the insurance they already have, and will continue to need to protect themselves and their families around the clock.
The effort to repeal Bill 119 has widespread support with thousands who have already attended rally's and town halls have already taken place across Ontario - from Ottawa to Hamilton, St. Thomas to Casselman. Industry organizations across the province including the Ontario Home Builders Association, the Ontario Electrical League, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and Merit Ontario have all spoken out against Bill 119.
“OHBA has been opposed to Bill 119 from the very beginning. Requiring mandatory WSIB coverage for entrepreneurs and business owners will not make construction sites safer but will increase the cost of construction for consumers and could drive many legitimate contractors into the underground economy.” Joe Vaccaro, Chief Operating Officer, Ontario Home Builders’ Association