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FAQ: 2018 Average Assessment Rate

1. What is the 2018 average assessment rate?

The costs of the system for 2018 are estimated to be $1.93. However, the Board adjusted its funding target from 110% to 100%, thereby allowing for a reduction of $0.23. That yields an average assessment rate of $1.70 per $100 of payroll.  This represents a 15% increase over the 2017 rate of $1.48. 

2. Why did the Board adjust its funding target?

The Board assessed alternatives that would help to minimize the rate increase while it pursues legislative change and awaits the recommendations of the task force. Adjusting the target funding to 100% was deemed to be the most appropriate option.

3. Are injured worker benefits at risk?

Based on current projections, it is expected that the funding level at the end of 2018 will be 101.6%. This means that benefit obligations are fully funded and are not at immediate risk.

4. Why the increase?

The 15% increase is the result of rising claim costs, mitigated by a reduction in the administration budget. The increase in the estimated cost of accidents is largely the result of policy changes arising from Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal decisions. Factors such as the aging population and general health status of New Brunswickers have also contributed to the increase, although less significantly.

5. Did investments contribute to the increase?

No. In fact, investment returns were 9.16% for the year and helped to mitigate the impact of rising claim costs. The returns exceeded expectations by over 3%.

6. What does the rate cover?

The key components of the assessment rate include the cost of benefits, cost of administering the system, and the Board’s target funding level. The breakdown in the assessment rate for 2017 and 2018 is as follows:




% Change

Funding target




Estimated cost of accidents, including policy changes








=Total costs




Rebate to achieve target funding




Average assessment rate




7. How does the rate compare across the country?

In 2016 and 2017 respectively, New Brunswick’s average assessment rate ranked 2nd and 4th respectively as compared to other Canadian workers’ compensation jurisdictions. Rates for 2018 have not yet been announced by the other jurisdictions.

8. Do all employers pay assessments at the average rate?

No. The rates charged to employers are adjusted for risk at two different levels. First, all industries are analyzed and adjusted for the risk that they pose. Risk is assessed based on claim costs relative to assessable payroll. Employers are then grouped into industries and each employer is analyzed to determine the risk they pose within the industry. Surcharges and rebates are applied depending on how an employer compares to its assigned rate group. Employers will receive their 2018 rate notice by mid-November

9. What do I get for my premiums?

In New Brunswick, workers’ compensation is administered through a no-fault insurance system set up under the Workers' Compensation Act. The system is designed to protect employers and workers by providing no-fault insurance for injured workers and immunity from suit for employers’

Employer premiums cover the expected cost of benefits as well as administration. Services provided include compensation, prevention, education, compliance, and case management, to name just a few.

10. What is WorkSafeNB doing to try to keep rates low for employers?

WorkSafeNB focuses on prevention strategies, collaborating with workers and employers to lower injury frequency. Preventing injuries from occurring is the best outcome for all New Brunswickers as well as our economy.

The Board continues to work on potential legislative change and will be providing recommendations to the Task Force.

WorkSafeNB also reduced the administration cost component of the rate by 16% ($0.09) this year. We’ve implemented a lean six sigma program and developed a roadmap to service excellence that includes several initiatives aimed at improving efficiencies. We’re considering all opportunities for savings while not affecting services of to our clients.

11. How can I lower my assessment rate?

Injury prevention is everyone’s ultimate goal. While we understand that there are external factors impacting assessment rates currently, we also know that employers and workers remain committed to health and safety. Efforts over the past several years have led to declining costs and, in the current environment, have helped to offset what would otherwise be larger increases in assessment rates.

12. What if I still have a question?

For information on the 2017 benefit changes, email your question to Planning and Policy.


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