Marks first time in 12 years that the rate has not dropped
The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved the 2020 average employer premium rate of $1.17 per hundred dollars of payroll. This is the same rate as 2019, marking the first time in 12 years the average premium rate has not dropped, the WCB said.
“Now that our average premium rate has levelled off, this signifies we all have more work to do,” said the WCB’s CEO Phil Germain. “We are seeing a number of factors that are causing some industry rate codes’ average premium rate to increase: consistently high numbers of serious injuries and fatalities, claims costs increasing and decreases in industry payrolls.”
Claims that are more serious in nature need additional longer-term treatments, which affect claims costs, the WCB explained. Over the past eight years, Saskatchewan has seen roughly the same number of serious injuries per year — 2,400. These serious injuries have represented nine per cent of all claims, 86 per cent of compensation days and 81 per cent of costs.
“This tells us that the number of serious injuries and more costly injuries are not dropping as fast as all other injury types,” said Germain. “In order to start seeing premium rates go down again, we need to focus on eliminating serious injuries and fatalities.”
In 2018, there were 48 work-related deaths compared with 27 in 2017, an increase of 78 per cent, the government said.
In 2020, one-third of Saskatchewan employers will see a decrease or no change to their industry premium rate. However, the premium rates for two-thirds of employers will increase in 2020.
If claims costs continue to increase at a faster rate than payroll, it is likely that the 2021 average premium rate may increase, Germain said. From 2017-18, claims costs increased 7.62 per cent and mental health claims costs increased by 59 per cent.
Since 2008, the workplace total injury rate in Saskatchewan has dropped by almost 50 per cent.
“For more than a decade, many workers and employers have worked together to prevent work-related injuries in this province,” said WCB chairperson Gord Dobrowolsky. “We cannot thank you enough for preventing injuries and saving lives, yet we must not become complacent. We all need to work together toward our goal of zero injuries in 100 per cent of Saskatchewan’s workplaces.”