Fewer workplace accidents, better rehabilitation and return-to-work outcomes, and an improved financial position have resulted in a significantly reduced assessment rate for 2022, WorkSafeNB announced today at its Annual General Meeting.
WorkSafeNB set its 2022 provisional average assessment rate at $1.69 per $100 of assessable payroll, a 22% reduction from the 2021 rate of $2.17. The 2022 assessment rate is based on the 2020 year-end audited financial statements, a year in which the COVID-19 virus swept in and dramatically changed how we live and interact with others.
“Never has the health and safety of families, friends, co-workers and customers been more front and centre in our everyday lives than it was in 2020,” said Doug Jones, WorkSafeNB’s President and CEO. “The attention and dedication to healthy and safe workplaces by our province’s workers, employers, unions, and the government has continued a 10-year trend of improving the lost-time injury frequency in New Brunswick. Improved workplace safety results, combined with better return-to-work outcomes for injured workers, and a strong financial position has allowed WorkSafeNB to announce a reduced provincial assessment rate that is now comparable to the Canadian average assessment rate.”
The 2020 net income of $252 million builds on the 2019 net income of $312 million, representing a stark turnaround from the losses of $271 million and $134 million incurred in 2018 and 2017, respectively. Similarly, WorkSafeNB’s funded position, the ratio of assets required to fund future liabilities, was 124% at the end of 2020, a remarkable improvement from the 85% and 105% reported at year ends 2018 and 2019, respectively. The solid financial results eliminated the unfunded liability and the need for a surcharge on the assessment rate.
The components of the 2022 rate and the change compared to 2021 are outlined below.
|Projected future cost of new injuries||$1.33||$1.20||($0.13)||9.8%|
|General Administration, Occupational Health & Safety and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal costs||$0.49||$0.49||—||—-|
|Surcharge to pay for unfunded liability when funding level is below 115%||$0.35||$0.00||($0.35)||100%|
|Average Assessment Rate||$2.17||$1.69||($0.48)||22.1%|
The improved financial position has also been due, in large part, to legislative changes passed by the government in 2018 and 2019. These changes returned exclusive jurisdiction over the workers’ compensation system to the WorkSafeNB Board of Directors. They also clarified that workers’ compensation benefits are to be provided only for injuries incurred in the course of employment. As a result, WorkSafeNB was able to take action to revise policies and manage operations so that financial liabilities at year-end 2020 have been reduced by $195 million compared to 2018.
“A further reduction in WorkSafeNB Assessment rates is great news and is the result of the excellent work by WorkSafeNB’s Board of Directors, and the quick action of our government,” said Trevor Holder, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. “One of the first things we did when we formed government was to update various legislation based on recommendations from the board, which included returning exclusive jurisdiction of worker’s compensation system to the WorkSafeNB Board of Directors. We are pleased that this work has contributed to assessment rates that are more equitable to both employers and employees.”
WorkSafeNB’s return to solid financial footing benefits all stakeholders.
“Our return to a strong financial position is good news for all New Brunswickers,” said Haley Flaro, Acting Chairperson of WorkSafeNB’s Board of Directors. “We are pleased to be in a position to consider reasonable improvements to the suite of benefits for injured workers while also reducing costs for businesses that benefit the overall provincial economy.”
Individual assessment rate notices will be available online at MyServices in October.
WorkSafeNB also announced a reduction in the 2022 assessments paid by municipalities, rural communities, and local service districts to fund the Firefighters’ Compensation Act’s disability fund. Annual assessment rates for 2022 will decrease by 5.6% to $425 for each of the more than 4,000 firefighters in the province, compared to the $450 annual assessment rate charged in 2021.
For more information on how we calculate rates, watch our short video.
For more information on WorkSafeNB’s 2020 annual results, including safety measures, return-to-work outcomes, improvements to client services, and detailed financial reporting, please read our 2020 Annual Report.
Executive Director, Corporate Communications