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WSIB backtracks plan to audit federal carriers

TORONTO – Federally regulated trucking companies, including extraprovincial carriers, will not have to undergo audits by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board after all.

The Ontario Trucking Association reports that WSIB has reconsidered the recent decision by its administrators to include federal firms in the so-called Workwell program, which performs on-site health and safety evaluations when companies' "injury experience indicates that there is a higher risk of injury at their workplace."

Carriers who have already been contacted about an audit will have that audit cancelled, says OTA.

"Full credit to the WSIB for their cooperation in reviewing this decision and for taking quick action to resolve the matter in a common sense way allowing both the WSIB and the industry to avoid getting embroiled in a protracted legal battle," said OTA president David Bradley.

In 2001, the Workplace Safety & Insurance Appeals Tribunal ruled that federally regulated companies were not legally subject to Workwell audits. (They're subject to health and safety audits based on the federal law).

Although that decision stood for the past decade, a director at the Workwell program sent a memo in March to all auditors indicating that, "departing from past practice, the Workwell program has included federally regulated, Schedule 1 companies in the 2011 annual selection process."

Thanks to lobbying, the OTA says that will no longer happen.

"We’re glad the WSIB leadership was receptive to revisiting the issue and we think they have definitely taken the correct decision," says OTA's Doug Switzer. "It’s one less battle we have to fight."

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