December 8, 2016
Board Stays the Course with an Eye on Balancing the System
WHITEHORSE: The Board of Directors of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board will moderately increase some assessment rates in 2017, after it distributes another $10 million of its surplus reserves to employers as a rebate this year.
This will help the workers’ compensation system gradually return to balance. Employers will recognize the true cost of caring for workers injured in Yukon workplaces and be able to have a direct impact on those costs by improving safety and preventing injury.
“We are continuing with the commitment we made to employers and workers last year,” said Board Chair Mark Pike. “We are moving our reserves down towards the level defined by our funding policy, and adjusting rates upwards so they reflect the actual costs of the compensation and occupational health and safety systems.
“It’s important that employers recognize the value of protecting their workers from harm and keeping them healthy.
“We all want rates to be as low as possible. But it should be a direct result of safe practices in the workplace, not good fortune in the investment market.”
Slightly less than half of Yukon’s 3,576 registered employers will see a rate increase in 2017. The largest will be 5 per cent. Despite the increases, almost all rate groups will still pay less than they did from 2009 to 2015.
“We know Yukon business owners are savvy and want to work in the best interests of both their balance sheet and their staff,” said YWCHSB President/CEO Kurt Dieckmann.
“Investing in safety pays dividends,” he continued. “Making sure workers are healthy and safe keeps them at work, which reduces claims costs. That translates to bottom-line savings in business’ books when assessment rates go down. It’s simple math, and the calculation begins in the workplace.
“Our whole organization is behind the Board of Director’s plan, and we know the business community is on side, too.”
From 2012 through to the end of 2016, over $35 million will have been returned to Yukon employers in the form of rate subsidies and rebate cheques.
To qualify for the 2016 rebate, employers must have had an open account with YWCHSB in 2015 that was not in a collections status at the end of that year. YWCHSB will begin issuing cheques to employers with accounts in good standing before the end of 2016.
The new assessment rates take effect on January 1, 2017.
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