NEWS FROM THE FIELD
Sharing news that SHCA members need to know
WCB holds 2021 average
premium rate at 2020 rate
The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) announced earlier
this week that it will hold this year’s average employer premium rate at
the 2020 rate of $1.17 and will cap industry level rates at 10 per cent. This
board level hold is to provide a measure of economic relief to Saskatchewan
businesses struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the WCB’s rate model, the 2021 average required rate should
have been $1.23 per hundred dollars of payroll without the board level
hold. The increase was driven by a combination of factors, including the
economic slowdown caused by COVID-19 and an increase in compensation
and health care costs.
“Given the level of uncertainty surrounding Saskatchewan’s economy as
a result of the pandemic, the WCB board proposed a hold for 2021,” said
Minister responsible for the WCB Don Morgan. “By holding the rate at
$1.17, the WCB will save employers approximately $13.4 million in 2021
premiums. This is in addition to approximately $1 million employers saved
on interest and penalties in 2020.”
Premium rates are generally determined by two key factors – claims
costs and payroll.
“We recognize the impact of the COVID-19 virus across the province.
Payroll is down, as many businesses struggle to stay afloat,” said WCB
CEO, Phil Germain. “This assistance from the WCB will benefit those employers.
This is just another example of how we all – including workers, employers
and government – work together to overcome the many challenges
caused by the current pandemic and subsequent economic slowdown.”
Prior to the premium rate plateauing in 2019, the average premium rate
had been steadily declining, in conjunction with an overall reduction in
work-related illnesses and injuries. In fact, the current average premium
rate is 43 per cent below the 17-year high of $2.05 in 2004. However, WCB
officials advise the rate may rise in 2022 if payroll costs remain low while
claims costs continue to rise.
“We’ve seen a tremendous collective effort in recent years by workers,
employers, safety associations and stakeholders to bring down the number
of workplace injuries in our province,” said WCB chair Gord Dobrowolsky.
“We’re making significant progress. In 2019, for the fourth year in a row, 88
per cent of Saskatchewan employers reported zero injuries in their workplaces.
As well, the workplace total injury rate in our province has dropped
by over 50 per cent since 2008.”
While overall injury rates are down, the number of serious injuries continues
to be a concern. In 2019, serious injuries accounted for 12 per cent of
total workplace injuries in the province, but more than 80 per cent of compensation
costs. The WCB is working with customers and stakeholders to
innovate the WCB’s claims and injury prevention strategies. The development
of the Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy in 2019 was the first
major step toward reducing injuries and improving disability management
and return to work in Saskatchewan. Find out more about the strategy at
Employers can also play a significant role in keeping their premium rates
down. Work-related injuries can be prevented by instituting a comprehensive
workplace safety program. A solid disability management and returnto
work program will also help reduce costs and assist injured workers to
recover and return to work safely and as soon as possible.
Employers can log into their secure WCB online account starting on Dec.
7, 2020 to view their 2021 industry premium rate, including their experience
rating and certificate, if eligible. Employers who don’t have a secure WCB online
account can sign up for one at www.wcbsask.com.
Employers, your WCB premium
rate notice is going paperless
Effective Dec. 7, 2020, your 2021 WCB premium rate notice and certificate
of achievement will only be available through your WCB online account.
The Saskatchewan WCB is going paperless because it is an environmentally
sustainable approach to significantly reduce the amount of paper
printed and mailed. Going paperless also allows for quick and easy access
while keeping employer information secure.
You can get access to your 2021 premium rate notice by logging into
your secure WCB online account. There you will be able to view and
print your premium rate notice, experience rating letter and certificate of
achievement, if eligible.
Your WCB online account also allows you to view claim reports, file
your annual payroll report, view your statements, obtain clearances and access
other helpful information.
To view this information online, you must be an administrator on your
secure WCB online account or be an agent with access to view reports.
Effective Dec. 7, 2020, your
2021 WCB premium rate notice
and certificate of achievement
will only be available through
your WCB online account.
6 Think BIG | Quarter 1 2021 | saskheavy.ca