The average assessment rate charged to employers in Newfoundland and Labrador will be reduced by six per cent from $2.20 to $2.06 per $100 of assessable payroll.
The lower assessment rate coincides with record low injury rates, said WorkplaceNL. Also, the maximum compensable and assessable earnings (MCAE) for injured workers will increase from $62,540 to $63,420, the highest in Atlantic Canada. Both are effective Jan. 1.
About 86.7 per cent of employers will see their 2017 assessment rate decrease or stay the same. The average assessment rate in every sector is either declining or staying the same. The largest decreases are in the fishing and trapping (21 per cent), agriculture (13 per cent), manufacturing (12 per cent) and transportation and storage (12 per cent) sectors.
The number of new reported lost-time injuries is decreasing, now at an all-time low of 1.5 per 100 workers. Fewer claims from injured workers typically means lower costs for employers, and more people going home safely at the end of their work day, said WorkplaceNL.
Assessment rates are premiums paid by employers to cover anticipated costs of workplace injuries, return-to-work programs, prevention initiatives and the cost of administering the workers’ compensation system. The injury fund is now 118.8 per cent funded, and considered fully funded. This is a significant turn-around from near bankruptcy in 2000, said the agency.
The increase in the MCAE reflects a 1.4 per cent increase in the consumer price index (CPI). Wage-loss benefits for injured workers submitting a new claim whose pre-injury earnings are at or above $63,420 will be calculated using this new limit starting January 1, 2017.
“WorkplaceNL will continue to work closely with employers, workers, labour groups and safety associations to further reduce injury rates in our province,” said Dennis Hogan, CEO. “This collaborative approach has been successful in bringing the number of injuries to an all-time low and building a financially sustainable system to ensure injured workers receive fair benefits while we are able to lower assessment rates for employers."
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The WSIB, with JLT Canada and the Public Services Health and Safety Administration, held a discussion panel to explain the changes to the rate-setting framework.