Employers welcome 100% rebate of Sask WCB’s $281.5 million surplus

Regina, June 29, 2016 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) decision to rebate 100 per cent of its $281.5 million surplus to eligible employers in 2016.

Today, WCB announced a $281.5 million surplus will be distributed to employers in 2016 as part of the 2015 surplus announced at its annual general meeting in May. The surplus will be distributed to eligible employers in two instalments in July and December of 2016. 

The Board’s 2015 annual report revealed an over-funded position of 144.7 per cent, or a $281.5 million surplus. In May, the Board solicited feedback from stakeholders on their proposal to rebate only $56.3 million of the surplus. Hundreds of employers contacted WCB to share their concerns with the Board’s flawed proposal and urged them to give back 100 per cent.

“We told the Sask WCB to rethink its rebate policy and return Saskatchewan employers’ hard-earned money,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president, Prairie and Agri-business. “While employers would have preferred an immediate rebate as opposed to two instalments, it’s clear the WCB listened and we commend them for rebating the entire $281.5 million in 2016.”

“Business owners tell us they will use their rebate cheque to further improve their safety training and safety awareness in their business,” noted Braun-Pollon. “From the restaurant in Estevan to the welding shop in Regina, these funds will help employers navigate a challenging economy.”

Last year, the Board was initially only going to rebate 50 per cent of its $141 million surplus, but after some intense pressure from business owners, refunded 100 per cent to employers. The Alberta WCB also recently announced it would rebate 100 per cent of its $467 million surplus to employers starting mid-June.

“While we recognize the importance of every Board being fiscally sustainable in the long-term, our research shows the Sask WCB is one of the most over-funded boards in Canada,” added Braun-Pollon. In fact, WCB’s annual report reveals the Board has been well-funded for a number of years with funding percentages of 144.7 in 2015, 132.2 in 2014, 119.3 in 2013, 117.1 in 2012, 119.0 in 2011 and 111.5 in 2010.

“It’s time to change WCB’s funding policy so they stop over-charging employers,” concluded Braun-Pollon. That is why CFIB is recommending the Board immediately rebate the surplus in the year it is realized, as is done in Alberta. Changes are also required to WCB’s current funding percentage of 105-120 per cent, to a funding ratio between 100 and 110 per cent.

To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President Prairie & Agri-business, please call (306) 757-0000, 1-888-234-2232 or email mssask@cfib.ca. Follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.

As Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) in every sector nationwide, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy. www.cfib-fcei.ca.