- Most significant benefit enhancement package for injured workers in the last decade
- Decrease in frequency of injuries in Island workplaces
- Increase in overall satisfaction with WCB service
- Enhanced Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) expertise
- Reduced rates and surplus distribution for employers
Charlottetown, June 14, 2023 – In 2022, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of PEI made considerable progress towards its commitment to building safe and healthy workplaces, supporting recovery when a work-related injury occurs and improving services for workers and employers alike.
“The past year was all about enhancing supports for our clients and helping keep people safe at work,” said Jim MacPhee, Chair of the WCB. “Safety has improved in Island workplaces as shown by the reduced frequency of work-related injuries. And for those who are impacted by work-related injuries, we implemented the most significant benefit enhancement package in the last decade, all the while maintaining reasonable costs for Island employers.”
“Ensuring safety at workplaces and providing timely claims services to our clients are the WCB’s top priorities,” said Cheryl Paynter, CEO of the WCB. “And while the injury frequency is down on the Island, sadly there were three workplace fatalities in 2022. The wellbeing of those we serve is paramount and the WCB’s work will never be done as even one injury – and certainly one fatality – is far too many.”
Here are some key highlights and new initiatives for 2022.
Amendments to the Workers Compensation Act led to the most significant benefit enhancement package for injured workers in the last decade. These enhancements will reduce the financial impact of injuries and fatalities and assist injured workers with the rising cost of living. Increased financial support for workplace fatalities came into effect in December 2022. Raising the compensation rate for wage loss benefits from 85% to 90% came into effect in January 2023. Further enhancements will come into effect by January 1, 2024.
Decreased Injury Frequency
The injury frequency rate captures the number of time-loss injuries per 100 workers each year, a measure that is used across the country. The PEI time-loss injury frequency in 2022 was 1.32. This means that for every 100 workers, there are 1.32 injuries that result in time off work. This number reflects an ongoing trend of overall safety improvement in Island workplaces. In comparison, the Canadian average is 1.75.
Increased Overall Satisfaction with WCB Service
The WCB conducted its biennial survey of injured workers. For injured workers, their satisfaction with the overall WCB experience is at its highest level, with 74% attesting that they are completely or mostly satisfied with WCB service. This is an increase of 10 percentage points since the first survey was done in 2002. There were 1,848 work-related injuries and illness claims filed with the WCB, with a 93% acceptance rate.
Enhanced OHS Expertise
The WCB enhanced its OHS expertise by onboarding a full-time Occupational Hygienist. Occupational Hygiene is the discipline of creating safe and healthy work environment by controlling hazardous exposures. This additional resource enabled the expansion of workshop offerings and the development of new workplace safety resources. In 2022, the OHS Division conducted 2,390 workplace inspections and delivered education activities to 1,944 participants online and in-person. The Division also contributed to province-wide recovery efforts in the wake of post-tropical storm Fiona.
Rate Reduction and Surplus Distribution
Despite a challenging investment market in 2022, the WCB’s funding policy allowed for a 4.2% reduction in its 2023 estimated average assessment rate for Island employers. This saw the estimated average rate drop to $1.37, down from $1.43 in 2022. It also allowed for a $22 million surplus distribution to employers while enhancing benefits as described above. The rate reduction and surplus distribution are made possible by a number of factors: strength of the Island’s economy shown through growth in assessable payroll, strong past investment returns; a focus on injury prevention and return to work efforts and generally, a strong policy which focuses on sustainability and minimizing volatility for Island employers and workers alike.
To consult the WCB’s 2022 Annual Report and other reference materials, please visit wcb.pe.ca