Average assessment rates for workers compensation have increased from $1.70 per $100 of assessed payroll in 2018 to $2.65 in 2019. For business owners this represents a one year 55% spike and a cumulative increase of 137% over the last three years. Unfortunately for some businesses, the increases will be much higher.
Why are premiums skyrocketing?
These new costs have nothing to do with workplace safety. In fact, the number of workplace accidents has not increased. Costs are increasing because claims are lasting longer and the workers’ compensation system is paying for benefits not related to workplace injuries. In some cases, it’s replacing social and health services.
In 2015 the provincial government changed the Workers Compensation Appeals Tribunal (WCAT) and gave it more powers. The WCAT subsequently overturned some of the policies put in place by WorkSafeNB to control costs and benefits. Over the least three years, these decisions have added considerable costs to the system.
What is CFIB doing about it?
- CFIB surveyed New Brunswick members and is using your voice to emphasize the negative impact premiums hikes are having on your business.
- CFIB actively represented the interests of business owners on the ministerial taskforce created by government to review the workers’ compensation system. It puts forward clear recommendations to government to restore stability to the system.
- The new provincial government followed CFIB recommendations and those of the task force. The law has been changed, the policies controlling costs and benefits can no longer be overturned by the WCAT. This allowed the WorkSafeNB board to immediately reduce its average assessment rate for 2019 from $2.92 to $2.65. Rates are now expected to progressively go down over the next few years.
- The new provincial government and WorkSafeNB have committed to making additional changes in 2019. We are actively voicing your concerns to the premier’s office, multiple ministers, bureaucrats and to the WorkSafeNB CEO, chair and board.
What can I do about it?
- Over 2,500 CFIB members have already signed the Action Alert asking government to bring in legislative changes. If you haven’t done so already, contact our office at [email protected] to request a copy.
- If an employee files a claim and you have concerns or questions use the services of the Office of Employers’ Advocates.
- If you have issues with customer service from WorkSafeNB contact the Issues Resolution Office (IRO).
- Prepare to reduce injury costs and get your employees back to work! Contact a CFIB Business Counselor today for a copy of our Return to Work package and Occupational Health and Safety Materials for your business.
Have questions? Comments? Contact our office at [email protected] or by calling 1 888 234-2232.