The president and CEO of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) says it could take a while to find a viable location in London, Ont., to establish their new headquarters in the city.
Jeffery Lang, who left the London Police Services Board to head the WSIB in February, says they will have a “sizeable” workforce when staff from Toronto and London fill the new headquarters.
“It’ll take quite some time before we have a full complement in London,” Lang said, adding the transition will bring some staff from the current head office in Toronto once the move is finalized.
The board’s move was announced in April, which would relocate its main office to London as part of the Ontario government’s Community Jobs Initiative to save taxpayer dollars and bring more people into the workforce. The move is expected to gradually bring thousands of new jobs to London.
“We want to have a place that will certainly accommodate the footprint that we need,” he said, adding a WSIB team visited London this week to scout out ideal headquarter locations.
“My preference, personally, would be downtown. There’s a high vacancy rate there and from a financial standpoint, probably negotiate a fairly reasonable deal if we locate where there’s a high vacancy.”
The WSIB’s current headquarters sit at a 600,000 square foot space in downtown Toronto and costs the province $30 million a year. In April, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton told CBC News the relocation would lower rental costs and take the WSIB off one of the most expensive real estate blocks in Canada.
Lang says the entire relocation process won’t happen overnight, and the WSIB is actively going through with it. No timelines or estimated windows were given for the board’s full transition to London.
“We do have office space in London now,” he said, adding some new job postings are expected to pop up for its current WSIB branch in London.
“This is going to be a transition. It’s going to take a few years. It’s a big organization, and we’re learning how to work in this new model. So it’s certainly not something that’s going to happen overnight. But the process has started.”