Software industry in new WSIB class

A successful advocacy campaign by CATA Alliance has lead to the non-compulsory classification of the software industry under Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) guidelines.

Effective Jan. 1, 1999, the WSIB has included software product developers in a classification to be renamed “Software Developers and Computer Services.” This will allow the industry to have “by application” status under the WSIB, meaning high-tech employers are no longer required to pay WSIB insurance premiums.

Because software products are considered to be part of the knowledge-based service industry rather than in manufacturing, it is understood that the risk of job injury is very small.

“The whole legislation was designed for a manufacturing enterprise, not really a software environment,” said John Reid, president of CATA.

According to Reid, research performed by CATA demonstrated that basically no claims are made in the software industry, yet most companies were paying double coverage for their employees.

“You can’t attract high-tech workers anymore unless you’ve come up with a pretty powerful benefits package (already),” Reid said. “The companies have a firm commitment to do whatever they can to attract and retain their employees. That’s the major issue confronting the industry.”

If desired, software companies may still register for coverage if they find WSIB’s rates attractive.”