wcbs good news bad news day

We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board has a $3-million surplus.

We don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board has a $3-million surplus.

 “The fund is healthy and the board is happy with the direction we’re going,” said board chair Craig Tuton.

Alright then, we’re happy.

But the cost of running the board has skyrocketed.

It now has 72 employees.

And the cost of running the bureaucracy has increased to $7.2 million from $6.7 million in 2005.

As well, employer premiums, calculated on every $100 of payroll, have increased substantially.

“(Employers are) not happy because the rates are high and we at the board aren’t happy either,” said Tuton.

Uh, alright, we’re not happy either. We’re angry, dammit.

But the board is working with stakeholders to reduce workplace injury rates, said Tuton.

That’s the right direction to go, he added.

Good. That’s really good.

Reported workplace injuries now stand at more than 950 this year, according to the injury board.

And “not a single one a paper cut.”

One worker has been killed.

The number of injury reports are up 14 per cent from last year. And 2006 was the worst in 13 years.

However, not every report becomes a claim. And not every claim is paid out, note WCB officials, obviously soothing those who fear the erosion of the $3-million surplus and higher premiums.

“We expected the numbers to go up simply because people are more involved,” said Tuton.

Alright, the WCB is working to reduce injuries, but the reported injuries are up.

So we’re crying.

But reporting injuries earlier can prevent more debilitating injuries later, note officials.

And that’s good.

And the WCB’s investments in bonds and equity are doing well.

They grew to $139 million from $134 million in 2005.

That’s also good.

Equity investments are split between Canadian, US and foreign companies, about one-third apiece.

That means two thirds of the WCB’s equity investments are in foreign-owned firms.

And, with some of the money, the board is launching a “megaproject strategy” in anticipation of the future.

It is setting aside money today (we’re happy) to pay for a major accident (worrisome) on a pipeline (whoohooo!) or some other major development that might be built sometime in the future.

Such a fund would protect the board (whew!) in the event of a major disaster, said Tuton.

Which brings us to an e-mail from a reader this week.

“Let me get this straight,” they wrote. “We take money away from Yukon/Canadian businesses [through WCB assessments] so that we can give it to foreign businesses (who probably have crappy worker safety programs, and in some cases none) so that we can save up for a big capital project (that may never happen) so that we can get oil [or natural gas] to the foreign businesses so they can increase ‘productivity’ and kill their workers faster….”

And then the reader asked why capital costs for a megaproject would not include any money for worker safety/compensation programs.

Which, in the end, is a very good question. (RM)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Patti Balsillie will be running for the mayor’s seat in Whitehorse in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Submitted)
Balsillie aims to serve as city’s mayor

Says she has the time, skill set to serve in full-time role

Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton sits on the opposition side of the legislative assembly on March 8 after announcing his resignation from the Liberal party earlier that day. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Don Hutton resigns from Liberal caucus; endorses NDP leadership

Hutton said his concerns about alcohol abuse and addictions have gone unaddressed

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read