Regina, Sask., June 24, 2020 – At the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)’s annual general meeting (AGM) teleconference today, the WCB shared its 2019 financial and operating results with Saskatchewan workers, employers and partners.
“In 2019, the WCB remained fully funded to support our customers, the workers and employers of Saskatchewan. At 115 per cent funded at 2019 year-end, we were able to cover costs of all claims in the system. This upheld the WCB’s commitment to workers and employers to operate an effective and efficient compensation system,” said the WCB’s Chairperson Gord Dobrowolsky. “Because of COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic response on global, Canadian and Saskatchewan economies, a decrease in employer payroll in 2020 – combined with a decline in investment markets – has put pressure on the WCB’s strong financial position.”
The WCB’s 2019 funded position was within the targeted range of 105 to 120 per cent.
WCB CEO Phil Germain gave an overview of the WCB’s 2019 operational highlights. In 2019, 21,473 workers were injured in Saskatchewan workplaces and sadly, 36 individuals lost their lives in work-related incidents. Of those, 17 were from occupational disease, seven were from traumatic events, five were from heart attacks, four were from motor vehicle incidents and three were from medical complications.
“Every single one of these work-related deaths is a tragedy. The impact of each loss is felt by family members and communities,” said Germain. “It is so important for all of us to continue working to keep our workplaces safe.”
The 2019 Total injury rate decreased to 4.95 per 100 workers in 2019, while the Time Loss injury rate decreased to 1.86 per 100 workers in 2019. In 2019, for the fourth year in a row, 88 per cent of Saskatchewan employers had zero injuries and zero fatalities in their workplaces.
“Thanks to the health and safety efforts of workers, employers, safety associations and labour unions, our workplace injury rate has dropped from the second highest in Canada to fourth among Canadian provinces,” said Germain. “While this suggests we still have plenty of work to do, it also demonstrates that we are heading in the right direction.”
At the meeting, Germain spoke about the WCB’s upcoming challenges and opportunities for 2020 and beyond. The leading challenges include the new operating paradigm because of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial management and market volatility.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected workers and businesses across the province and it is likely we will continue seeing the fallout for quite some time,” said Germain. “The pandemic response has also created opportunities for us to improve our customer service.”
The WCB has outlined key strategic objectives in its three-year strategic and operational plan. The WCB’s 2019 annual report and the strategic and operational plan are available online.