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Regina, May 30, 2016 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is urging the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to listen to employers and give back 100 per cent of its $281.5 million in excess surplus in 2016.
Currently the Board is considering the approval of only a $56.3 million excess surplus distribution for 2015 to be paid to qualifying employers by July 31, 2016. This amount, 20 per cent of the excess surplus amount, represents one fifth of the surplus as outlined in the funding policy. WCB is inviting input from stakeholders by Tuesday, May 31, 2016, with respect to the 2015 excess surplus distribution to be paid in 2016.
The Board’s Funding Policy states that the targeted range for the Injury Fund is 5 per cent to 20 per cent of benefits liabilities resulting in a targeted Funding Percentage of 105 per cent to 120 per cent. The Policy also states where the funded status rises above 122 per cent, excess surplus will be distributed to employers, at the WCB’s discretion, over a period not to exceed five years until the Injury Fund reaches 120 per cent.
“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,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president, Prairie and Agri-business. In fact, WCB’s annual report reveals the Saskatchewan WCB 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.
“Just in the last two years, the Sask WCB has been in a massively over-funded position,” added Braun-Pollon. “That is why CFIB is recommending the Board immediately rebate the surplus in the year it is realized and not distributed over a 5 year period and change its current funding percentage of 105 per cent to 120 per cent to a funding ratio between 100 per cent and 110 per cent.”
In 2014, Saskatchewan’s funded position was 132 per cent, resulting in a $141 million surplus, well above what is considered fair or balanced. “Last year, the Board was initially only going to rebate 50 per cent, but after some intense prodding by small business, refunded the entire amount to employers,” noted Braun-Pollon.
The Saskatchewan Board’s 2015 annual report revealed another over-funded position of 144 per cent, or a $281.5 million surplus. “It’s no surprise employers are upset to learn the WCB is proposing to only rebate one-fifth of the surplus money in 2016,” added Braun-Pollon.
“Over the past few weeks, CFIB has heard from hundreds of concerned employers who want the Board to listen and give back 100 per cent,” noted Braun-Pollon. “The majority of business owners also said they would use their rebate cheque to further improve their safety training and safety awareness in their business.”
“It’s time for WCB to do the right thing and immediately rebate the entire $281.5 million surplus to employers,” concluded Braun-Pollon. “It really isn’t theirs to keep.”
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 [email protected]. 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.