October 12, 2017
Board stays on target as rates rise moderately
WHITEHORSE: With an eye on returning the organization’s funded position to its target range, the Board of Directors of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) will increase most assessment rates in 2018, with one rate group seeing a small decrease.
These increases continue the Board of Directors’ multi-year commitment to ensure assessment rates reflect the actual cost of caring for workers injured in Yukon workplaces.
“Rates are artificially low because the surplus in our funded position places a downward pressure on rates in the form of subsidies,” explained Board Chair Mark Pike. “With the support of employer and worker stakeholder organizations, we’re engaged in a prudent long-term plan to reduce that surplus along with the subsidies in assessment rates.
“When employers pay rates that reflect the actual costs of caring for injured workers, it helps them recognize the value of preventing injuries and getting workers back on the job as quickly and safely as possible following an injury.”
The Board of Directors has already successfully reduced YWCHSB’s funded position to 150 percent of its total liabilities, a full 10 percent drop over the last three years. Its goal is to bring the Compensation Fund to a target range of between 121 and 129 percent as set out in the organization’s funding policy.
Most of Yukon’s 3,576 registered employers will see a rate increase in 2018, with 250 seeing a decrease. The largest increases will occur in the Construction High rate group, which will go up 10.3 per cent, Construction Medium, which will go up 9.8 per cent, and Services Medium, which will go up 8.5 per cent next year.
Despite the increases, almost all rate groups will still pay less than they did from 2009 to 2015.
“It’s important for employers to recognize that rate subsidies aren’t the only factor affecting their assessment rates,” said YWCHSB President/CEO Kurt Dieckmann.
“Several rate groups will see notable increases next year as a result of increases in claims costs for their industry groups.
“Employers may not be able to control rate subsidies, but they have direct control over how safe their workplaces are, and that’s a much more effective way to keep rates low.
“The thing about workplace safety and injury prevention, though, is that it’s not a static effort. As with other aspects of their operations, employers must constantly look for ways to improve workplace health and safety practices if they want rates to go down.
“Keeping workers healthy and safe reduces claims costs which in turn reduces assessment rates. It’s a win-win-win solution for employers, their balance sheets, and their workers.”
The new assessment rates take effect on January 1, 2018.
CORRECTION: the rate for Construction High originally read 10.8 per cent, which was incorrect. It has been changed to read the correct rate of 10.3. We apologize for the error and regret any confusion it may have caused.