The following administrative policies were updated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- COVID-19 Response – Additional Employer Relief Measures (ADM POL 05/2020)
- COVID-19 Response – Benefits When a Return to Work (RTW) Plan is Interrupted (ADM POL 03/2020)
- COVID-19 Response – Employer Relief Measures – Late Payment Interest (ADM POL 02/2020)
- COVID-19 Response – Cost Relief (ADM POL 04/2020)
The following policy and procedures were recently revised or introduced. All references to the “Act” are to The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013.
This procedure was updated to provide current mileage rates at which WCB staff and clients are to be reimbursed for attending to WCB business. As this procedure is based upon rates established by the Public Service Commission (PSC), it is revised each time the PSC revises its travel and sustenance rates.
Amendments to the Act in 2019 expanded the list of occupational diseases covered by the rebuttable presumption for firefighters. The policy was updated in January 2020 and a new procedure has now been approved to clarify guidelines used to adjudicate cancer and cardiac claims for firefighters.
The WCB works in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) regarding the treatment of injured workers, reporting to the WCB, and the remuneration of physicians. This procedure has been updated in light of recent rate changes.
This policy and procedure establishes guidelines for providing annuities to injured workers or dependent spouses to compensate for the reduction of retirement income caused by a workplace injury. It now clarifies when a qualifying period would pause or restart when there is a suspension of benefits. The documents have also been updated to include a process for board members to review requests for lump-sum payouts for foreign residency and terminal illness.
Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the maximum wage rates are as follows:
- If the injury date is before Jan. 1, 2014, the maximum wage rate is $63,995.
- If the injury date is on or after Jan. 1, 2014, the maximum wage rate is $91,100.
Any adjustments in the calculation of loss of earnings because of an increase in the maximum wage rates will occur at the worker’s annual benefit review.
Under Section 137(2) of the Act, the WCB is required to set a maximum assessable wage rate for payroll reporting and assessment purposes. The 2021 maximum assessable wage rate will be $91,100.
This procedure is an annual update based on the changes to Saskatchewan’s average weekly wage as of June. It establishes the minimum average weekly earnings for workers injured on or after Jan. 1, 1980 and who have been receiving earnings loss compensation for more than 24 months. Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the minimum average weekly earnings will not be less than $739.27.
Section 70(5) of the Act is also used to set the minimum assessable for elected officials. For 2021, the minimum assessable for positional coverage will be $38,442.
This procedure is an annual update based on the changes to Saskatchewan’s average weekly wage as of June. In accordance with Section 75 of our Act, this amount is the minimum compensation an injured worker would receive if they are totally unable to work. Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the minimum compensation will not be less than $554.45 per week, or the actual amount of the worker’s average earnings.
The WCB has authority under the Act to provide grants to safety associations formed by employers in any industry for the purpose of injury prevention and workplace safety. Currently, the WCB funds and works cooperatively with seven safety associations to promote injury prevention in a variety of industries. Guidelines for establishing and funding safety associations are approved through WCB policy, which has been updated effective January 1, 2021.
This policy is an annual update effective January 1. In October 2020, a provisional premium rate consultation session was held with employers and employer associations. Taking into consideration the feedback received from these meetings, the Board Members have approved the 2021 premium rates as listed in POL 11/2020. The 2021 average premium rate is $1.17 per hundred dollars of payroll.
Section 69 of the Act requires that compensation amounts be adjusted annually by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The basis for any increase is the average of percentage increases in the Regina and Saskatoon All-Items CPI for the 12 months ending on November 30 in each year. For 2021, where applicable, entitlements will be increased 0.9% due to the CPI increase.