Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

What is the Government Hiding by Withholding Financial Statements from the WSIB?

Published on October 6, 2016

Ms. Catherine Fife: My question is to the Acting Premier.

Never before has a provincial government released unaudited financial statements. What’s more astonishing is that several sections from these statements were missing, such as the financial statements from the WSIB, the Ontario Clean Water Agency, the OEFC and the former Hydro One Brampton.

Yesterday, I asked the Premier to explain why these sections were missing; she could not.

During the public accounts committee yesterday, I was repeatedly told by government members that the WSIB statements had been posted. I checked again this morning, but they are still not there. What is the government hiding by withholding the WSIB statements?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: President of the Treasury Board.

Hon. Liz Sandals: I do want to assure the member opposite that the WSIB economic statement for 2016 is available online, as is the 2016 sufficiency plan update. All of the material related to the WSIB will in fact be included when we are able to table the public accounts. So I do want to assure the House of that.

I also want to assure the House that, while we are obviously in the process of collecting documents and having them printed, all of the finances of these various agencies have been accounted for in the financial statements that were made available earlier this week.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Catherine Fife: It is my understanding that the chair of the WSIB signed off on the financial statements weeks ago, but they are still not posted. The statements are complete. The government refuses to publish them. It refuses to explain why.

There have been growing calls for an Ombudsman investigation of the WSIB by injured workers who say that they were denied benefits that they are entitled to. I raised this yesterday at public accounts. There is great interest in the accountability of the WSIB to the public, certainly from injured workers.

Why is the Premier withholding the WSIB statements? Publish them now.

Hon. Liz Sandals: Minister of Labour.

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Thank you to the member for that question. The statements have been available online for quite some time. In addition, the numbers that are in those statements I think are something we should all be proud of in this House.

The WSIB has been an organization that all parties, when they’ve been in government, have tried to organize and have tried to run in a better manner. I think what we’re seeing coming out of the WSIB, with the figures and with the numbers that the member is talking about, is a very good news story. We passed historic legislation last year that’s included in these numbers, reinstating, for the first time, full indexation of WSIB benefits—something that the opposition, the NDP, took away from injured workers.

When you look at this, you see full CPI applied in the way that it should be. By 2018, all injured workers, both partially and fully disabled, are going to receive their full CPI. That’s what’s contained in the figures. Those figures have been available online.