Saskatchewan’s workplace insurer has slashed its average employer premium by four percent, marking its lowest rate in three decades and the third-lowest rate in Canada.
The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) on Tuesday said its average rate for 2018 — the cost per $100 of insurable coverage — is at $1.19, down from $1.24 last year and well below the 15-year high of $2.05 in 2004.
“Thanks to the safety focus of employers and workers, the number of workplace injuries we’re seeing in Saskatchewan continues to drop,” WCB chairman Gord Dobrowolsky said in a statement. “This contributes to our overall drop in premium rates.”
That means 94.1 per cent of Saskatchewan employers covered by the WCB will pay the same or between 0.8 per cent and 32.8 per cent less than they did last year. About 5.9 per cent of employers will pay up to two per cent more.
The WCB said in a news release that its new rates are a result of a new rate model approved last year, following a review. It said the 14 industries whose premium rates are increasing will have the increase covered for next year.
The agency reported earlier this month that workplace fatalities are declining in the province, with 22 deaths recorded in the first 10 months of 2017 compared to 31 in all of 2016. The total number of deaths has dropped every year since 2014.
At the same time, the decline in workplace fatalities is shallower that of the province’s workplace injury rate, which fell 50 per cent between 2002 and 2015. WCB officials have attributed that drop to education and enforcement compliance
“Last year, 88 per cent of employers achieved Mission: Zero,” WCB chief executive Peter Federko said in a statement on Tuesday. “We want that percentage to increase to 100 per cent. Even one person getting hurt at work is too many.”
In 2016, the last year for which financial data is available, the WCB collected $281.8 million in premiums and paid out claims totalling $286.8 million, according to its annual report.