WCB rate reduction

Yukon businesses will pay less to insure their workers next year. The Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board is lowering the average assessment rate for 2012.

Yukon businesses will pay less to insure their workers next year.

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board is lowering the average assessment rate for 2012.

Thanks to the WCB’s $14.7 million operating surplus, next year employers will pay $2.39 for every $100, down from $2.46.

While the average rate has fallen, this won’t necessarily save every business money.

“No one pays the average,” said WCB chair Mark Pike. “If employers are able to meet our requirements they pay less.

“They also have less injuries.”

The rates for the nine individual industry categories won’t be announced until the fall.

Reducing the average assessment is a positive move, said Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.

“We would have liked to have seen more,” said Karp. “But it’s a step in the right direction.”

With a booming mining and construction industry, the WCB pulled in much more money from payroll last year.

That contributed to its current surplus.

They’re forecasting even more growth next year.

But the rates aren’t falling more because mining and construction are the highest risk industries.

Based on the history, the WCB is projecting it will also see more claims next year, said president Valerie Royle.

That’s not something anyone wants to see, she said.

The WCB is also hiring more safety officers and working with business to improve safety.

“The goal is to reduce injuries and prevent them from becoming a permanent disability,” said Royle.

Eventually they’d like to see no injuries at all.

“Our goal is zero,” said Royle. “It’s doable for each and every workplace in the Yukon.”

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com