The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved the 2022 average employer premium rate of $1.23 per hundred dollars of payroll. This is the first increase to the average premium rate since 2004. The 2021 rate was $1.17. Despite this increase, the province’s premium rates remain among the lowest in Canada.
“While the 2022 rate increase will affect most employers covered by the WCB, we are mitigating its impact by setting the average premium rate below the rate model requirement of $1.25,” said the WCB’s CEO Phillip Germain. “The principal drivers of the 2022 increase are claim costs and payroll. While the number of injury claims has gone down, claim-related costs like health care have increased more quickly than payroll. This difference is reflected in our premium rates.”
He added that what was a positive downward trend in claims experience over the last several years has flattened out and, in some cases, reversed.
The board’s decision to set the average premium rate below the rate model requirement of $1.25 is similar to its decision last year to hold the 2021 rate below the then-required rate $1.23.
“We recognize that employers are continuing to confront tough economic hurdles due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Germain. “By not charging the required premium rate in both 2021 and 2022, we will save employers about $13.4 million in 2021 and $3.3 million in 2022.”
Industry premium rates are affected by the extent to which employers in an industry are able to eliminate workplace injuries. In 2020, 90 per cent of Saskatchewan employers achieved zero injuries, an increase over the 88 per cent of employers who achieved Mission: Zero in each of the previous three years.
Despite this accomplishment, the number of serious injuries, fatalities and durations has not improved.
For the last several years, serious injuries accounted for approximately 12 per cent of total injuries, but more than 80 per cent of compensation costs. In response, WorkSafe Saskatchewan, the partnership between the WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, launched its Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy in 2019. Learn more at www.worksafesask.ca/prevention/serious-injuries-and-fatalities/.
The WCB’s Business Transformation Program will also play a key role in reducing durations and serious injuries. Launched in early 2021, the five- to seven-year program will transform all major facets of the organization as they relate to the WCB’s people, processes and technology. Through the program, the WCB is working with customers, employers’ associations, labour organizations and safety associations in improving injury and disability prevention outcomes and customer service. With effective safety and disability prevention programs, employers can help prevent and manage the impacts of work-related injuries.
“It’s heartening to know that so many workers and employers are committed to working together to create safer workplaces in the province” said the WCB’s chair Gord Dobrowolsky. “But we still have a stretch to go to reach our goal of zero injuries in 100 per cent of Saskatchewan workplaces. As we head into the new year, let’s redouble our efforts in getting our work done on time, on budget and without injuries.”
Source: WCB Saskatchewan