SAINT JOHN – For the third year in a row, WorkSafeNB must increase the assessment rate charged to employers to cover the growing costs of workers’ compensation in New Brunswick. The 2019 average assessment rate will be $2.92 per $100 of payroll compared to the 2018 rate of $1.70.
The high assessment rates are being driven by the increasing costs of workers’ compensation claims, which have doubled from $199 million in 2014, to a projected $400 million in 2018. During this period, future liabilities (the funds required to pay for all future claim costs related to a current year injury) also increased by $800 million.
“We take this situation very seriously and we realize the significant impact that this will have on all New Brunswickers,” said Douglas Jones, WorkSafeNB’s president and CEO. “WorkSafeNB has taken action to find efficiencies and improvements through a review of our policies and internal practices; however, legislative change is required to fully address this problem.”
In May 2017, the Minister of Post-secondary Education, Training and Labour appointed an independent Task Force, comprised of equal representation of both workers and employers, to review New Brunswick’s workers’ compensation system. The report was released in July 2018 with 28 recommendations, including proposed legislative changes, all of which are supported by WorkSafeNB.
“In recent days, we have been in discussion with the incoming Government and are very encouraged by their understanding of the seriousness of this situation” said Jones. “We appreciate their commitment to helping WorkSafeNB implement a solution.”
Moving forward with the Task Force recommendations is critical for several reasons. First and foremost, it will protect benefits for injured workers. Secondly, these changes would provide a policy and governance framework for WorkSafeNB that would align with the rest of Canada. With these changes, the rapid increases in assessment rates will stabilize and should begin to decline, allowing for a more predictable and fair environment of benefits and costs.
Acting Director, Communications, WorkSafeNB
506 632-2270, firstname.lastname@example.org