The Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board says its average assessment rates are currently subsidized due to its over-funded position. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Yukon health and safety board increases assessment rates

Employers gradully paying more of full cost of workers’ comp rates

Sharon Nadeem

News Reporter

The Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety board announced an increase in average assessment rates of three per cent next year.

The increase will take the average assessment rate to $1.93 from the current rate of $1.87 per $100 of payroll, an increase of 6 cents. The actual cost of the compensation system is $2.30, but Yukon employers receive a rate subsidy.

“The rate subsidy is an effect of our over-funded position,” said board chair Mark Pike. “As we reduce that position, our funding policy requires that we increase the rates employers pay by reducing the subsidy.”

This is part of a multi-year plan to reduce the board’s overfunded position and ensure the actual cost of the compensation system is reflected in the rates paid by employers.

Kurt Dieckmann, the board’s chief executive officer, said that plan is expected to take roughly four years depending on market factors. When employers start paying the full cost of the compensation system, they will recognize the benefits of reducing job-related injuries and illnesses, he said.

Pike recognizes that the increase will have to be done gradually to not “shock the employers.”

“Our decision to increase the average assessment rate delivers on our steady promise to manage the worker’s compensation system responsibly and equitably,” he said.

As part of its efforts, the board has given around $40 million to Yukon employers in the form of rate subsidies and rebates, he said.

The board has not yet released industry-specific rates. Those are expected later this year. Industry-specific rates are heavily influenced by “injury cost experience,” meaning the number of injuries and high-cost injuries that occur in each sector. For example, child care and communication services paid an assement rate of $0.66 in 2017, while diamond drilling and long-haul trucking paid $7.94 in the same year.

Road building and construction have shown the most improvement in terms of safety at the worksite, Dieckmann said.

“It’s an area where we’ve they’ve seen the best results because they’ve adopted safety management systems,” he said.

Contact Sharon Nadeem at sharon.nadeem@yukon-news.com

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