Regina, Sask., Oct. 26, 2023 – The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has announced the 2024 preliminary average employer premium rate to remain unchanged from the 2023 rate at $1.28 per hundred dollars of payroll. The announcement was made at the WCB’s annual preliminary rate information meeting with Saskatchewan employers, workers and stakeholders.
“The WCB aims to uphold a balance between stable rates and a fully funded compensation system,” said the WCB’s chair Gord Dobrowolsky. “Claim costs and payroll are the two key drivers of the 2024 average preliminary premium rate. We are forecasting total costs will continue to increase next year, however they are expected to be offset by rising employer payroll. As a result, we are proposing the 2024 average preliminary premium rate to remain at $1.28.”
The WCB has a legal obligation to be fully funded. In addition to the premium rate information presented, the WCB shared details of a comprehensive review of the funding policy, which has been superseded by the sufficiency policy. The name change reflects the focus on ensuring the WCB holds sufficient funds to meet long-term obligations to injured workers and employers, targeting a range between 100 and 140 per cent. Employers will not notice much of a change under the sufficiency policy because the new target range is intended to maintain stable premium rates under the new accounting standards.
With the 2024 rate proposal:
• The overall 2024 proposed average employer rate will remain at $1.28 per hundred dollars of payroll.
• Industry premium rates for approximately 35 per cent of Saskatchewan’s employers covered by the WCB will increase next year.
• Industry premium rates for approximately 65 per cent of Saskatchewan’s employers covered by the WCB will see a decrease or no change for 2024.
“While we are not proposing a change to the 2024 average preliminary premium rate, we are expecting long-term upward pressure on premium rates,” said the WCB’s CEO Phillip Germain. “Reducing the number of serious injuries and fatalities across the province will help to minimize the impact of factors pushing premium rates upward.”
Employers can influence their individual premium rate through effective injury prevention and return-to-work programs. The degree to which employers in an industry work to eliminate workplace injuries also affects industry premium rates. Employers who have a fully functioning safety program and a solid return-to-work program can help prevent and manage work-related injuries.
In 2022, 90 per cent of employers in the province achieved zero injuries and zero fatalities. However, on an annual basis, serious injuries account for approximately 10 to 13 per cent of total claims and more than 80 per cent of costs in the system.
In March of this year, WorkSafe Saskatchewan, the partnership between the WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, launched a new strategy that focuses on two key streams of work that will be undertaken to reduce injuries and fatalities – a regulatory and enforcement stream, and a prevention and learning stream. Building on the success of the initial strategy launched in 2019, the strategy lays out a direction for working together with stakeholders to address high-risk industries and occupations that are resulting in workplace fatalities and injuries.
“The WCB will continue to work to prevent work disability through active employer and worker contact, and collaborative plans with employers, workers and health-care providers,” said Germain. “Through this approach, we can work together to reduce the number of serious injuries that significantly impact peoples’ lives.”