REGINA, SK – The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board’s 2018 Annual Report was tabled in the provincial legislature today. WCB Chairperson Gord Dobrowolsky said the WCB remains fully funded with the ability to cover the future costs of all claims in the system.
“As our labour force has grown over the past decade, workplace safety becomes more and more vital for Saskatchewan as we realize our economic growth potential,” said Dobrowolsky. “It remains important for us to keep a solid funding position to ensure benefits and programs to cover workers who are injured at work. As well, employers can be sure that they will be protected from lawsuits and that they will continue to have an effective, efficient compensation system.”
The WCB’s 2018 results include:
- The WCB’s Injury Fund is at $399.8 million as of year-end 2018 compared to $555.0 million in 2017. The WCB remains fully funded at 115.2 per cent.
- Claims costs increased from $230.2 million in 2017 to $278.2 million in 2018. The benefits liabilities increased by $52.5 million or 4.3 per cent in 2018 to $1,280.9 million, mainly due to increased expected health care costs from increasing treatment and utilization levels, an increase in mental health claims and the continuing pattern of claims staying in the system longer.
- Two primary drivers of compensation costs paid are the duration and number of Time Loss claims. The average duration of Time Loss claims increased to 41.89 days in 2018 compared to 40.16 days in 2017. The WCB accepted 8,151 Time Loss claims in 2018, up from 7,888 claims accepted in 2017.
- The workplace Total injury rate in 2018 increased to 5.44 per 100 workers, compared to 5.25 per 100 workers in 2017.
- The average premium rate for 2018 dropped to $1.19, down from $1.24 in 2017. This is the third lowest in Canada.
- The WCB has premium revenue of $256.5 million in 2018 (up from $255.2 million in 2017) and investment loss of $41.6 million in 2018 (compared to income of $175.8 million in 2017).
- The WCB covered 410,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2018 compared to 423,527 FTE workers in 2017.
The past year also marked the third year in a row that 88 per cent of Saskatchewan employers achieved Mission: Zero – zero injuries, zero fatalities, zero suffering.
The workplace Total injury rate per 100 workers increased from 5.25 per 100 workers in 2017 to 5.44 per 100 workers in 2018.
“Despite a slight increase in 2018 workplace injury rates, 88 per cent of employers achieved Mission: Zero for the third year in a row. This wouldn’t have been possible without the health, safety and prevention efforts of people around the province. To me, this shows how much workers, employers and provincial leaders can accomplish when we work together on workplace safety,” said CEO Peter Federko. “However, 22,371 workers were injured in Saskatchewan workplaces in 2018. This demonstrates that we still have work to do. We can’t accomplish this alone. Only together can we make all Saskatchewan workplaces safe.”
The 2018 Saskatchewan Time Loss injury rate increased to 1.99 per 100 workers compared to 1.86 per 100 workers in 2017. The 2017 Time Loss injury rate stayed consistent with the Saskatchewan 2016 rate of 1.86 per 100 workers. At that time, WorkSafe Saskatchewan cautioned that injury rates might increase in 2018, which they have.
“Sadly, we lost 48 individuals in workplace fatalities last year – 20 from occupational disease and 28 from traumatic events,” said Federko. “Evidence from the International Social Security Association indicates that a focus on serious injuries and fatalities should improve the overall level of safety in the province. We will continue to focus on our serious injury and fatality initiative as a top priority in 2019.”
The WCB will provide details of its 2018 performance at the AGM scheduled for Regina on May 1 and Saskatoon on May 2.