Regina, Sask., Oct. 31, 2022 – The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has announced the 2023 preliminary average employer premium rate at $1.28 per hundred dollars of payroll, compared to the 2022 rate of $1.23, an increase of 4.1 per cent. The announcement was made at the WCB’s annual preliminary rate information meeting with Saskatchewan employers, workers and stakeholders.
“While we are proposing a rate increase for 2023, our preliminary premium rate is likely to continue to remain among the lowest rates in Canada,” said the WCB’s chair Gord Dobrowolsky. “Claim costs and payroll are the two key drivers of the 2023 average preliminary premium rate. We are forecasting total costs to rise faster than employer payrolls in 2023, which is mostly driven by increasing long-term claim costs. As a result, we are proposing the five-cent increase to the 2023 board-level average preliminary premium rate.”
The WCB adjusted the average premium rate for 2021 and 2022 to help lift pressure on employers due to COVID-19. 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. Not charging the required premium rate in 2021 and 2022 saved employers $14.0 million in 2021 and is expected to save them another $4.8 million in 2022.
“After adjusting the premium rate for the past two years, the rate increases for 2023 will ensure we maintain our funded position,” said the WCB’s CEO Phillip Germain.
The WCB has a legal obligation to be fully funded. The WCB’s funding policy has a range between 105 per cent and 120 per cent funded.
With the 2023 rate proposal:
- The overall 2023 proposed average employer rate will be $1.28 per hundred dollars of payroll.
- Industry premium rates for approximately 65 per cent of Saskatchewan’s employers covered by the WCB will increase next year.
- Industry premium rates for approximately 35 per cent of Saskatchewan’s employers covered by the WCB will see a decrease or no change for 2023.
Despite the preliminary rate increase in 2023, there are ways employers can influence their premium rates. Industry premium rates are affected by the degree to which employers in an industry are able to eliminate workplace injuries. Employers who have a fully functioning safety program 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, however the WCB has been advising employers over the last few years that they could expect to see increases in the Saskatchewan premium rates 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.
“Workplace health and safety is a priority for building a strong Saskatchewan where everyone can benefit,” said Germain.