REGINA, SK – The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board’s 2017 Annual Report was tabled in the provincial legislature today. WCB Chairperson Gord Dobrowolsky said the report indicates that the WCB remains fully funded and able to cover the future costs of all claims in the system.
“As Saskatchewan’s labour force continues to grow, it remains important for us to maintain a solid funding position to make sure that we have benefits and programs to cover workers in the event of a workplace injury,” said Dobrowolsky. “Employers can also be assured that they will be protected from lawsuits and they will have an efficient and effective compensation system.”
The WCB’s 2017 results include:
- The WCB’s Injury Fund is at $555.0 million as of year-end 2017 compared to $446.2 million in 2016. The WCB remains fully funded at 117.8 per cent.
- Claims costs decreased from $286.2 million in 2016 to $230.2 million in 2017. The benefits liabilities increased 1.4 per cent in 2017 to $1,228.4 million. The benefits liabilities increased by $18.2 million due to changing the method of calculating future claims liabilities for non-pension benefits.
- Two primary drivers of compensation costs paid are the duration and number of time loss claims. The average duration of time loss claims decreased by 6.8 per cent in 2017 to 40.16 days. The WCB accepted 7,888 time loss claims in 2017, up slightly from 7,813 claims accepted in 2016.
- The average premium rate for 2017 dropped to $1.24, down from $1.34 in 2016. This is the third lowest in Canada.
- The WCB has premium revenue of $255.2 million in 2017 (down from $281.8 million in 2016) and investment income of $175.8 in 2017 (up from $127.1 million in 2016).
- The WCB covered a record 423,527 workers in 2017 compared to 420,279 workers in 2016.
The past year also marked the second year in a row that 88 per cent of Saskatchewan employers achieved Mission: Zero – zero injuries, zero fatalities, zero suffering. The total injury rate per 100 workers decreased from 5.55 in 2016 to 5.25 in 2017. This rate has decreased by 48.6 per cent since 2008, which is when Mission: Zero was launched.
“Having 88 per cent of employers achieve Mission: Zero for two years in a row demonstrates what workers, employers and provincial leaders can accomplish when we work together on workplace safety,” said CEO Peter Federko. “However, 22,247 workers were injured in Saskatchewan workplaces in 2017 and this is unacceptable. Even one injury is too many. We must continue to make our workplaces safer.”
Despite the successes achieved in 2017, as the workforce changes in this province, new challenges come with it. The 2017 time loss injury rate per 100 workers remained constant at 1.86.
“Sadly, we lost 27 individuals in workplace fatalities last year – 13 due to occupational disease and 14 due to traumatic events,” said Federko. “We all have more work to do to achieve Mission: Zero. Everyone needs to make zero injuries their mission at work and at home.”
The WCB will provide details of its 2017 performance at the AGM scheduled for Saskatoon on May 2 and Regina on May 3.
Mission: Zero is an initiative to eliminate workplace injuries in Saskatchewan. Launched at the WCB’s 2008 Annual General Meeting, the Mission: Zero campaign and programs drive home the impact of work injuries and the importance of workplace safety and injury prevention. The intent behind Mission: Zero is to bring about faster and deeper reductions to the provincial workplace injury rate.