Regina, Sask., May 31, 2022 – For more than two years in 2020, through 2021 and through the first six months of 2022, the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) provided cost relief for employers with accepted COVID-19 claims. The WCB will conclude providing COVID-19 cost relief for employers with accepted COVID-19 workplace injuries that occur on or after July 1, 2022. Accepted COVID-19 workplace injuries that occur prior to July 1, 2022 are still eligible for cost relief.
“The WCB has worked to support employers and workers over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included covering all claim costs for accepted COVID-19 workplace injury claims in 2020, 2021 and the first six months of 2022,” says the WCB’s chair Gord Dobrowolsky. “As the pandemic has evolved, claims related to COVID-19 exposures in the workplace have started to taper off. At the same time, high vaccination rates and effective risk management by employers have helped to limit the time lost to COVID-19 and the resulting costs.”
The number of COVID-19 claims requiring workers to be away from work for more than 10 days has dropped significantly, from 41.9 per cent of claims in 2021 to 24.5 per cent of claims in the first part of 2022.
The WCB has implemented relief measures for employers and workers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing cost relief for employers. For claims that occurred from 2020 to May 10, 2022, the WCB has provided more than $7.5 million in cost relief for COVID-19 injury claims. The cost relief is funded through the WCB’s occupational disease reserve as a temporary measure to aid Saskatchewan employers.
“While we will conclude the temporary cost relief measures for COVID-19 claims after two and a half years, employers and workers can still submit eligible COVID-19 workplace injury claims to the WCB,” says the WCB’s CEO Phillip Germain.
A worker may be entitled to WCB benefits if they contract COVID-19 and there is a confirmed link between the worker’s exposure and their employment. Based on WCB policy Injuries – Communicable Disease (POL 02/2010), the following conditions must be met:
- There is confirmed exposure to the disease in the workplace,
- The time period that the illness is contracted is in close proximity to the confirmed workplace exposure, and
- The nature of employment creates a greater risk of exposure for the worker than to the general population.
“COVID-19 presented each one of us with challenges unique to our lifetimes over the past two years, affecting the way we conduct business in Saskatchewan,” says Germain. “Thank you to the workers, employers, employer associations and unions for your health and safety efforts. Together we can all help keep each workplace safe.”
Frequently asked questions for employers on COVID-19 workplace injury claims are available at wcbsask.com.