London party

WSIB head office set to move to London, which could create 3,000 jobs

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has announced plans to move the headquarters of the province’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Board to London, a move Queen’s Park rivals slam as a campaign promise ” smoke and mirrors” in the run-up to the provincial election.

Content of the article

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has announced plans to move the headquarters of the province’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Board to London, a move Queen’s Park rivals slam as a campaign promise ” smoke and mirrors” in the run-up to the provincial election.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

Labour, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton announced on Tuesday the planned move of the offices of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) from Toronto to London, a change that could lead to the creation of thousands of jobs.

“This is the first move of government agencies outside of Toronto. Today in Toronto there are 650,000 square feet of office space in one of the most expensive buildings in the country. We want to increase efficiency,” he said.

London, McNaughton added, was chosen because “we want to make sure we publicize the opportunities widely and fairly. There is no need for a government agency in downtown Toronto.

The move could see 3,000 workers migrate to London over the next four years, McNaughton said.

But WSIB chief executive Jeff Lang, who is from London, said in an internal email obtained by the Toronto Star that no Toronto workers would be forced to relocate.

The provincial government has not released an exact timeline or location for the move, but McNaughton said the entire move could take place during the government’s second term if re-elected in June.

Tuesday’s announcement comes days before the Conservative government tables its final budget and just over a week before a provincial election is called.

“This is clearly a pre-election stunt, a full announcement in campaign mode,” London West NDP MP Peggy Sattler said on Tuesday.

“Like many other things we have heard from the government, this is something that will only happen if he is re-elected. . . . There’s a complete lack of detail about what would be involved in this move if it actually happened.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

London North Center Liberal candidate Kate Graham said her party supports the distribution of government jobs to communities across the province, but is concerned about the scant details the ruling Tories have released, particularly pledges to ‘job.

“I’m in the “I’ll wait to see it to believe it” category,” Graham said. “What exactly does this mean for London? I hope it’s not Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives who are once again making promises to our city that don’t materialize. I hope this is not just chatter.

The WSIB is a no-fault workers’ compensation agency for injured workers that covers more than five million people in more than 300,000 workplaces in Ontario. The independent agency is overseen by the McNaughton Ministry.

Although details of the move are unclear, Deputy Mayor of London Josh Morgan said the announcement could be a big win for the city.

“It’s a great day for the City of London. For a major state-owned company to move its headquarters to our city is something the leaders of this city are pushing for,” he said. always to bring good, well-paying jobs to London.It solidifies London as a city on the move.

City manager Lynne Livingstone said London would like to see more government departments move here.

“We are very excited. This is great news for London. This is new jobs, new energy in our community,” she said on Tuesday.

The Progressive Conservative government has said the relocation is part of a strategy to save taxpayers money while promoting economic development in Ontario communities. Most of the province’s 150 government agencies are based in downtown Toronto.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

In a statement, Minister of Government and Consumer Services Ross Romano said the province will leverage its existing real estate holdings across Ontario and take advantage of lower rental costs in smaller communities.

In the last quarter of 2021, the average monthly office rental rate in Toronto was nearly $17 per square foot, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported. The rate in London averaged $13.52 a square foot over the same period, commercial property giant CBRE reported.

WSIB premises in Toronto cost more than $30 million a year, the province said.

Earlier this year, the province named Lang, a long-time London businessman, for a three-year term as president and CEO of the WSIB. Lang previously served on the agency’s board of directors.

[email protected]

[email protected]

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.