New workers’ comp legislation passes in Saskatchewan

As of Jan. 1, Saskatchewan has a new Workers’ Compensation Act.
The act addresses the recommendations of the 2010 Workers’ Compensation Act Committee of Review as well as the government’s consultations on the recommendations, according to Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan.

“(It) increases benefits in a fiscally responsible manner and modernizes the language for ease of use.”

The new act will contain provisions that include:
•improving benefits for injured workers by increasing the maximum insurable earnings
•introduction of a system of indexation to ensure benefits are adjusted annually
•raising to $25,000 the level at which workers at age 65 years may choose a lump sum payment rather than an annuity
•providing the board with the ability to assess administrative penalties.

The maximum wage rate, the upper limit on earnings used for the calculation of benefits, will increase from $55,000 to $59,000 for new claims. The maximum wage rate was last increased in 2005, said the government.

The new act also contains an indexation formula based on increases to the average weekly wage.

The 2010 Committee of Review was asked to consider the previous committee’s recommendations when it prepared its final report to ensure continuity. The government also wanted to ensure that stakeholders had an opportunity to consult on the committee’s recommendations prior to any legislative changes.

The Workers’ Compensation Board is in the process of implementing the changes required with the new act, said the government.