ACCORDING to Labour Minister Harry Bains, his government has lost almost the entire estimated $2.9-billion surplus from WorkSafeBC in just the last few weeks. This is money government collects from hard-working British Columbians through employer premiums to ensure they are safe when on the job, note the B.C. Liberals.
B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and his Caucus are calling for the NDP to immediately tell British Columbians what happened.
“People all across B.C. have been sacrificing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and now as they head back to work, they’re learning that the agency in charge of ensuring they’re safe doesn’t even have enough money to help buy gloves or masks,” said Wilkinson. “This is unacceptable at the best of times, but as people return to work and help rebuild our economy, the timing of this failure couldn’t be worse.”
The BC Liberals say they have been working constructively to fight the virus and have been bringing forward common-sense proposals to help get B.C. back on track. This includes the recommendation that WorkSafe BC’s surplus be used help small business owners with the cost of personal protective equipment, so they can keep their employees and customers safe. We now know why the NDP rejected this idea – they lost the surplus.
“The people of BC, and especially the people who paid premiums to WorkSafe, are entitled to know who lost $3 billion in a matter of weeks,” added Wilkinson. “Where is the accountability? The NDP need to answer for this immediately.”
(Vancouver Sun reported that Bains told their reporter: “Their [WorkSafeBC] investments have sunk to almost zero when it comes to the surplus money they are sitting on. Almost all of the surplus has been wiped out a couple weeks ago because of our stock market, and that’s where the money was invested.”)