Amendments to Saskatchewan’s Workers’ Compensation Act, arising from consultations on workers' compensation in the province, have been introduced by Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan.
Highlights of the amendments include:
• improving benefits for injured workers by increasing the maximum insurable earnings
• the introduction of a system of indexation to ensure benefits are adjusted annually
• allowing workers, upon reaching age 65, to choose between purchasing an annuity or receiving a lump sum payment
• providing the compensation board with the ability to assess administrative penalties.
The maximum wage rate — the upper limit on earnings used for the calculation of benefits — will increase from $55,000 to $59,000 for new claims. The maximum wage rate was last increased in 2005.
"The Workers' Compensation Act, 2012, is a positive step forward for workers in Saskatchewan," Morgan said. "The new legislation eliminates inconsistencies, clarifies legislative applications and improves the benefits for injured workers."
The new act also contains an indexation formula based on increases to the average weekly wage.
Additionally, all current claimants in the province will receive an annual increase in benefits to ensure they are consistent with inflation.
The act has also been modernized and restructured to improve readability and ease of use by removing gender-specific language, using consistent terms, and improving clarity and ease of use for stakeholders, the province said.