Better safe than sorry

Worker compensation rates may go down. Last week the Yukon Workers' Compensation, Health and Safety Board revealed that it is running a surplus of more than $14 million.

Worker compensation rates may go down.

Last week the Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board revealed that it is running a surplus of more than $14 million.

That could be good news for business, said Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.

While rates fell last year, Karp said they are still relatively high.

“We certainly hope that the surplus will be turned back to the business community,” he said.

The Yukon had 1,500 more workers in 2010 than it did in the previous year.

That unprecedented increase in economic activity added more than $5 million to the WCB’s coffers.

Because of the nature of the economic boom, many of those workers were employed in higher risk industries, like construction and mining.

But while there were more workers employed in higher risk jobs, there was also a slight decrease in the number of injuries overall.

And the injuries that workers did sustain have been less severe on average.

“We did make some increases in health and safety because there were more workers in high risk industries,” said Valerie Royle, the CEO of the compensation board.

They’ve added three new safety officers, almost doubling the number they employ.

More were needed because it’s difficult to make inspections in remote bush camps where employers are responsible for their workers safety 24 hours a day, said Royal.

“Mining and construction are difficult because you have to helicopter officers out,” she said. “It increases the complexity of putting resources on the ground.”

While keeping workers safe and getting them back to work helps to keep costs down, there are other considerations for the compensation board, said Mark Pike, the board chair.

“The human cost of an injury is enormous on the family,” he said.

That’s a sentiment that Karp shares.

“No one wants to see someone suffer from a severe injury,” he said. “The business community has continued to put safety as one of our highest priorities.”

Over the last few years, there has also been an improvement in relations between business and the compensation board, said Karp.

“I think we’re all working better together than we have historically,” he said. “In the last two or three years we’ve seen some really good positive movement in that direction.”

The average assessment rates will be presented next week at the WCB’s annual information meeting June 2.

And rates for individual industries will be decided in the fall.

Contact Josh Kerr at

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history


Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Yukon News file
A 21-year-old man is in custody after a stabbing in Porter Creek on May 14.
One man in hospital, another in custody, after alleged stabbing in Porter Creek

A police dog was used to track the suspect who was later arrested in a wooded area.

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read