WCB releases 2015 rates

Assessment rates will stay the same or go down for most industries in the territory, the Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board announced yesterday.

Assessment rates will stay the same or go down for most industries in the territory, the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board announced yesterday.

According to the board more than 2,050 employers will see their rates fall as much as four per cent next year. About 1,000 will see their rates stay the same.

“For several years, we’ve been telling businesses that preventing injuries and returning injured employees to work doesn’t cost money, it saves money,” president and CEO Joy Waters said in a statement.

To come up with the assessment rates, industries are grouped together based on their level of risk.

The highest drop for 2015 went to the “medium” group of industries in resource and transportation, and the “low” rate group in the services category.

These two categories includes businesses like short-haul trucking, reclamation work, churches, libraries and schools.

The resource category in question went from $5.23 per $100 in wages in 2014 to $5.02.

The services category went from 75 cents to 72 cents.

But not everybody will see their rates go down.

The 208 businesses in the services “high” category, which includes businesses like security services and animal control, will see a 7.5 per cent increase in their rates. They’ll jump to $3.02 from $2.81 per $100 in wages.

The WCB said that in the coming weeks, they will be looking at the safety practices in that particular category to see if there is a way to bring those numbers down.

The governments category, which covers municipal, First Nations and territorial governments, will see an increase of 4.1 per cent. That rate is going from $1.46 per $100 in wages in 2014 to $1.52.

The WCB says the increase has to do with a decision announced in March to amend the workers’ compensation rules when it comes to Yukon firefighters.

Under the new changes, conditions like a heart attack or certain types of cancer are presumed to be work-related if you are a firefighter.

This streamlines the process when it comes to applying for help.

The calculation of these rates uses number from the last 10 years.

So far five people have died this year. Those deaths are not included in the math for 2015.

This includes a Burwash Landing man who died in January while wrangling wild horses, an employee of the Whitehorse Home Hardware who died in April, two truck drivers, and a worker who died from a disease he developed on the job.

Spokesperson Richard Mostyn said he didn’t have many details on that last death because of privacy concerns.

“We are happy to recognize industries that perform well, but we must not take anything for granted. We’ve had five workplace deaths in 2014, and that is far too many for a community our size,” Waters said.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com