Canada’s Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has decreased employer premium rates 6.6 percent for 2006. This reduces the average net premium rate 13 cents from $1.97 to $1.84 per $100 of payroll.
Around 83 percent of the WCB’s nearly 34,000 registered employers were assessed lower premiums or saw premiums frozen for 2006. The remaining employers saw modest increases averaging 4.6 percent, with only one employer group seeing their rates rise above 10.5 percent.
WCB Chief Executive Officer Peter Federko attributes the rate decrease to “the continued efforts of employers and workers in advancing workplace safety programs. We saw the provincial workplace injury rate drop from a 20-year high of 4.95% in 2002 to a projected 4.13% at the end of 2005. That means our focus on injury prevention is working.”
Other factors contributing to the rate decrease were a reduction in the number and duration of injury claims requiring time off work and an increase in investment income, which combines with premium revenues to fund the compensation system.
Besides being used to pay the costs of injury claims, a two cent portion of the premium will be used to rebuild the WCB’s Economic Stabilization Reserve and another five cents will be used to help replenish the Injury Fund over 15 years. In their decision on 2006 premium rates, the WCB Board deferred the second phase of the three-year implementation plan for the Experience Rating Program, and directed more work to be done on a proposed certificate of recognition for safe workplaces.
According to WCB Chairman John Solomon, “During rate consultations, Board Members listened to feedback from employers who told us that they believed there were some inequities in some of the elements of the experience rating system. The committee charged with the program’s development will reconvene in the near future to review and consider these employers’ concerns, and to recommend program changes.”
Although recalculated discount and surcharge amounts will mean some employers will see a change to their actual premium rate from the provisional premium rate, the overall average rate for 2006 remains the same.
“Over the past two years, employers have seen rate decreases totaling 10.5%. Saskatchewan premiums continue to be competitive with the western provinces and are the third-lowest in Canada,” Federko said.
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