2023 Saskatchewan total injury rate is lowest in province’s recorded history

9 in 10 workplaces in the province had zero fatalities and zero injuries for the fourth-straight year

2023 Saskatchewan total injury rate is lowest in province’s recorded history

Saskatchewan’s total injury rate in the year 2023 was the lowest in the province’s recorded history, according to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).

The total injury rate in the province for 2023 was 3.95 per 100 workers, down almost nine per cent from 2022. The rate is also down 57.62 per cent from 2009.

Year 2023 also marked the fourth year in a row that 90 per cent of Saskatchewan workplaces had zero fatalities and zero injuries, according to WCB.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan’s time loss injury rate also dropped to 1.78 per 100 workers, a decrease of 12.75 per cent from the 2022 rate of 2.04 per 100 workers.

“An almost 13 per cent decrease in the Time Loss injury rate is certainly significant for 2023,” said WCB CEO Phillip Germain. “While we are moving in a positive direction, we all need to continue prioritizing workplace safety to drive our rates even lower.” 

Saskatchewan’s time loss injury rate is fourth among Canadian provinces.

Combined efforts of workers, employers, safety associations

Gord Dobrowolsky, chair of the WCB, credited the WorkSafe Saskatchewan, a partnership between the WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, for the improved safety numbers in the province in 2023.

“Through the WorkSafe Saskatchewan partnership with the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, as a province, we are on the right track as we see our Total and Time Loss injury rates continue to come down,” said Dobrowolsky. “This is thanks to the combined efforts of workers, employers, our safety associations, safety leaders across the province and labour, including the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and the Saskatchewan Building Trades.”

Still, many Saskatchewan workers were injured, and even lost their lives, in 2023:

  • Total claims accepted decreased by 6.80 per cent to 16,143 from 17,321 in 2022. The total number of workers covered increased to 409,158 in 2023 from 400,392 the previous year.
  • Accepted no time loss claims decreased to 8,870 in 2023 from 9,156 in 2022.
  • Accepted time loss claims (excluding current-year fatalities) decreased to 7,256 from 8,148 in 2022.

Also, there were 29 workplace fatalities in Saskatchewan in 2023 compared to 39 in 2022. This is a decrease of 25.64 per cent.

“Each of these fatalities represent spouses, children, families, workplaces and communities who have been tragically impacted by these losses,” said Dobrowolsky. “We need to remember the 29 workers in our province who lost their lives because of a work-related injury last year. To honour their memories, we all must intensify our efforts to make every workplace safe from injuries and fatalities.”

In June 2023, Saskatchewan’s provincial auditor expressed concerns about the province's high rate of workplace deaths and urged a closer examination of the funding allocated to safety associations.

According to the auditor's report, Saskatchewan held the distinction of having the highest workplace death rate in the country in 2022, with 4.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent employees.

Last year, WorkSafe Saskatchewan launched the 2023-2028 Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy, which lays out a new approach to fatalities and serious injuries in Saskatchewan’s workplaces.

The multi-year plan uses customer feedback and engagement, as well as claim and injury data, and outlines two key streams of work from the WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety to reduce serious injuries and fatalities – a regulatory and enforcement stream and a prevention and learning stream.