The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved the 2024 average employer premium rate to remain unchanged from the 2023 rate of $1.28 per hundred dollars of payroll.

 “The primary drivers of the 2024 premium rate are claim costs and payroll,” said Gord Dobrowolsky, WCB’s chair. “The average premium rate this year will not increase, however we are expecting total costs to continue to rise in the future. This could place upward pressure on premium rates. The WCB’s rate model ensures a balance between stable rates and a fully funded compensation system.”

 In 2022, 90 per cent of employers achieved zero injuries and zero fatalities. The WCB is working to support workers and employers across the province to prioritize and effectively manage workplace safety. Currently, serious injuries account for the majority of claim costs within the workers’ compensation system. Approximately 10 to 13 per cent of claims result in more than 80 per cent of costs.

The WCB has a legislative obligation to remain fully funded. In response to changing accounting standards, the WCB has finalized a comprehensive review of the funding policy. The funding policy has been superseded by the sufficiency policy, which measures funding adequacy in a different way. The sufficiency policy reconfirms the WCB’s commitment to hold sufficient funds to balance long-term obligations to workers and employers.

 “To help reduce volatility in premium rates under the new accounting standards, the WCB’s sufficiency policy targets a range of between 100 and 140 per cent funded to cover the costs of current and future claims,” said Phillip Germain, the WCB’s CEO. “The 2024 rate ensures we will be able to maintain our funded position.”

Employers can help prevent work-related injuries through effective safety management systems. By working together, all stakeholders can prevent disability through effective rehabilitation and return-to-work plans can help employers reduce claim costs and manage work-related injuries. By reducing the number and severity of injuries in the workplace, industry premium rates will be positively impacted. Employers and the WCB can work collaboratively to develop safety management systems and return-to-work programs to help prevent and manage work-related injuries.

To further support workers and employers, WorkSafe Saskatchewan, the partnership between the WCB and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, launched the 2023-2028 Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy in March of this year. The updated strategy, built on the success of the 2019-2021 strategy, 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. The strategy lays out a direction for working together with stakeholders, including non-profit safety associations, to address high-risk industries and occupations that are resulting in workplace fatalities and injuries.

 “The WCB will continue to work closely with employers, workers and health-care providers to support the prevention of work disability through collaborative planning,” said Dobrowolsky. “As we head into 2024, we continue our commitment to eliminate workplace fatalities and injuries in the workplace. It is only together that we will achieve this vision.”