The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved the 2023 average employer premium rate of $1.28 per hundred dollars of payroll. This is an increase of 4.1 per cent from the 2022 rate of $1.23. 

“Although we have increased our 2023 average premium rate by five cents, our rate is still among the lowest rates in Canada,” said the WCB’s chair, Gord Dobrowolsky. “The primary drivers of the 2023 premium rate are claim costs and payroll. We are continuing to see increasing long-term claim costs, which we are forecasting to rise at a faster rate than employer payrolls in 2023. This is reflected in our premium rates.”

For the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, the WCB adjusted the average premium rate to help lift pressure on employers. The 2022 average premium rate was $1.23, below the required rate of $1.25, and the 2021 average premium rate was held at $1.17, below the required rate of $1.23. By not charging the required premium rate in 2021 and 2022, employers saved $14.0 million in 2021, and they are expected to save another $4.8 million in 2022.

“We are legally required to be fully funded. The WCB’s funding policy indicates a range of between 105 per cent and 120 per cent funded to cover the costs of current and future claims,” said the WCB’s CEO Phillip Germain. “The 2023 rate increase ensures we will be able to maintain our funded position.”

Industry premium rates are affected by the extent to which employers in an industry can eliminate workplace injuries. Employers who have a fully functioning safety management system and a solid return-to-work program can help prevent and manage work-related injuries.

In 2021, 90 per cent of employers achieved zero injuries and zero fatalities. The WCB has been advising employers over the last several years that Saskatchewan premium rates could increase if serious injuries, fatalities and claim durations did not improve. From 2015 to 2021, serious injuries accounted for 11.0 per cent of injuries and 82.4 per cent of costs in Saskatchewan’s workers’ compensation system.

“Collaboration with our stakeholders is critical to understanding industry needs and delivering sustainable injury prevention outcomes. By working together, we can help bring our injury rates down and keep all workers safe on the job,” said Dobrowolsky. “As we head into 2023, let’s strengthen our efforts to complete our work on time, on budget with no injuries.”