Workers’ Comp will overhaul rates

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board will not change its rates in 2009. Instead, the board is planning an overhaul of its…

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board will not change its rates in 2009.

Instead, the board is planning an overhaul of its rate structure for 2010, said Valerie Royle, the board’s president and CEO.

“Employers want this classification system looked at,” said Royle.

“Should we have fewer rate groups? Should we have more? Some employers wanted their very own individual rates,” she said. “Others felt that the more employers in the category, the more the risk is spread.”

The board currently has three rate groups. These are based on workplace hazards in different industries.

The board has provided information on these industries to their actuaries and will receive some options on how to proceed early next year, said Royle.

“We gave our actuaries free rein,” she said.

According to usual practice, the board should have increased its rates this year.

In assessing rates, the board examines claims costs from the last 10 years. This marker indicated an increase in costs for 2009.

But some penny-saving measures have assured the board costs will be lower in 2009.

The board predicts that the number of workers injured on the job will continue to decrease compared to years past.

On the day of the news conference, the number of injured stood at 1,690, down from 1,767 on the same day a year earlier.

The new Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Act, which came into effect on July 1, is saving money, said Royle.

It allows the board to offset the payment of a worker’s compensation benefit with the federal Canada Pension Plan disability benefits.

“Our future costs are going to be lower due to some of the provisions of that act,” said Royle. “We know from the past that we did not offset Canada disability benefits from workers’ compensation benefits.”

“We will now be offsetting 50 per cent (of workers’ compensation benefits),” said Royle.

Contact James Munson at jamesm@yukon-news.com

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