Workers' Compensation on Prince Edward Island: 5 things small businesses need to know

Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island (WCB) is a Crown corporation that oversees the implementation and application of the Prince Edward Island Workers' Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. 

The WCB is responsible for administering legislation related to workers compensation and workplace safety on Prince Edward Island.

Does my business need to have WCB coverage?

Most industries on Prince Edward Island that employ one or more regular, part time or contractual workers are required by law to have coverage and it is important that you register with WCB and renew your registration each year. 

There are industries and employers that are not covered under the Act and can apply for optional coverage.  These industries can be found on the Workers Compensation Act Regulations

How much will it cost?

Workers’ compensation premiums vary widely based on assessment rate group. WCB classifies businesses based on their primary business activities. Once you are classified you will pay the premium stated per $100 of gross payroll. 

Over time, businesses also get an ‘experience rating’, which is a discount for workplaces with lower-than-average accident rates, or an additional premium for higher-than-average accident rates. WCB publishes their rates annually, which can be found on their web site. 

What do premiums pay for? 

The majority of costs incurred to the WCB system go to compensate and rehabilitate injured workers. These costs are covered only by employers (who entirely fund the system through premiums) and are largely based on two things: 

  • How many people get injured  
  • How long they are off the job.

In addition to workplace health and safety training and resources, one of the most important benefits to the employer community is the fact that having WCB coverage provides protection from lawsuits from an injured worker. 

How can I reduce my premiums?

While rates are set based on industry experience and other factors, there are several ways employers can ensure they avoid paying more than necessary:

  • Offer practical, relevant safety training to all staff on an ongoing basis. 
  • Ensure that you are classified correctly. 
  • Actively manage any claims and cooperate with WCBPE
  • Implement and use a Return to Work program. 

Are there services available to help me? 

The Prince Edward Island Office of Employer Advisor (OEA) assists employers in matters concerning workers' compensation claims through advice and representation on issues before WCBPE and in particular during the appeals process.