Yukon businesses will see their rates go up by as much as 10.3 per cent. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News)

Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board to increase rates in 2018

All but one industry will see a rate increase in 2018

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board will increase its assessment rates for most businesses in 2018, the board said in a press release Oct. 12.

The increase marks the third year in a row that rates for the majority of the Yukon’s 3,576 registered employers has gone up.

Employers in industries such as building demolition, bricklaying and masonry will see the largest increase at 10.3 per cent (which translates to $5.70 per every $100 of payroll, up from $5.17 in 2017). Employers in industries like road making and electrical contracting, come in second with a 9.8 per cent increase ($3.24 in 2018, up from $2.95 in 2017). The “Services (Medium)” group, encompassing grounds maintenance, lumber yards and bulk oil dealers, among other things, will also see a notable rate increase of 8.5 per cent (up to $1.54 from $1.42).

Employers from other groups can expect to see a rate increase ranging between 0.3 to 6.2 per cent.

The sole group to buck the trend is the resources and transportation category which includes placer mining, exploration, reclamation and drilling water wells, which will see a 2.7 per cent decrease in rates next year ($4.66 in 2018 compared to $4.79 in 2017).

The YWCHSB press release said that even with the increases, most employers will still be paying less than they did from 2009 to 2015, and that rates are still “artificially low” thanks to a surplus that allows rates to be subsidized. However, the YWCHSB has been working on a long-term plan to reduce the surplus — and therefore the subsidies — so employers are seeing a more accurate, true assessment rate.

“When employers pay rates that reflect the actual costs of caring for injured workers, it helps them recognize the value of preventing injuries and getting workers back on the job as quickly and safely as possible following an injury,” board chair Mark Pike said in the release.

Rate increases for some groups are also the result of an increase in claims, YWCHSB President and CEO Kurt Dieckmann said in the press release.

“Employers may not be able to control rate subsidies, but they have direct control over how safe their workplaces are, and that’s a much more effective way to keep rates low,” Dieckmann said.

“The thing about workplace safety and injury prevention, though, is that it’s not a static effort. As with other aspects of their operations, employers must constantly look for ways to improve workplace health and safety practices if they want rates to go down. Keeping workers healthy and safe reduces claims costs which in turn reduces assessment rates. It’s a win-win-win solution for employers, their balance sheets, and their workers.”

The new assessment rates come into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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