Employees’ Compensation Board in Saskatchewan releases 2020 operational outcomes

The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) remained fully funded in 2020 and was able to cover the future costs of all claims in the system.

The WCB’s 2020 annual report was filed in the provincial legislature on Friday.

“A solid funding position is important to continue providing benefits and programs for injured workers at work,” said Gord Dobrowolsky, chairman of the WCB. “In addition, employers can be sure that they will be protected from lawsuits and that they will continue to have an effective and efficient remuneration system in place.”

The results of the WCB for 2020 include:

The total workplace injury rate (total number of new occupational accidents reported to and accepted by the WCB in the year) decreased to 4.46 injuries per 100 workers in 2020. That’s a 10 percent decrease from the overall injury rate of 4.95 per 100 workers in 2019.

The time injury rate for 2020 (the total number of new workplace compensation claims reported to and accepted by WCB in the year that lost time at work) decreased from 1.86 injuries in 2019 to 1.78 injuries per year 100 workers per 100 workers. This is a decrease of 0.08 per 100 employees, or 4.3 percent, from 2019. The Zeit-Koss injury rate for 2020 is the lowest in more than a decade.

Damage costs were $ 319.6 million in 2020 (up from $ 281.0 million in 2019). Benefit liabilities, which are statutory obligations to cover the cost of all future claims, increased to $ 1,420.4 million in 2020 (up from $ 1,328.1 million in 2019).

The duration of the damage and the number of time loss claims are two main factors in the compensation costs paid. The average duration of time loss entitlements increased to 45.27 days in 2020 (compared to 41.52 days in 2019). The WCB accepted 7,134 time loss claims in 2020. This is a decrease from the 8,036 time loss claims accepted in 2019.

WCB’s Injury Fund was $ 479.6 million at year-end 2020 (up from $ 567.3 million in 2019).

WCB posted premium income of $ 255.6 million in 2020 (up from $ 267.2 million in 2019) and investment income of $ 77.4 million in 2020 (up from $ 277.1 million in 2019).

The average premium rate for 2020 remained at $ 1.17 per hundred dollars in wages. This is the same premium rate as 2019.

The WCB comprised 402,306 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2020, compared to 433,622 FTE employees in 2019.

In 2020, WCB continued to focus on its employees and customers – both employees and employers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the WCB worked to maintain its service to injured workers with a special focus on mental health by fully establishing the Mental Injury Department to better serve workers with mental health claims. As part of a three-year partnership with the renowned Canadian psychologist Dr. Joti Samra set up the WCB on the WorkSafe Saskatchewan website, the resource center for mental health and safety for workers and employers.

WCB’s Employer Resource Center, established in 2019, continued to support employers across the province. The center provides support materials and connects employers with the right person at WCB to ensure employers have the tools they need.

In 2020, 90 percent of employers had no injuries or fatalities in the workplace, a slight improvement over the 88 percent seen in the past four years.

“Despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to make real strides in fulfilling the WCB’s vision of eradicating injuries and restoring skills,” said Phil Germain, WCB CEO. “In 2008, Saskatchewan had the second highest workplace injury rate in Canada. Thanks to the health and safety efforts of people in the province, our workplace injury rate has since fallen by more than 56 percent. Last year fewer people and their families were affected because someone was injured at work. “

The lost time injury rate in 2020 improved to 1.78 per 100 workers compared to the 2019 rate of 1.86 per 100 workers.

“The rate for 2020 is an improvement. However, we can’t get complacent when it comes to keeping all workplaces in Saskatchewan safe, ”says Germain. “Unfortunately, we lost 34 people in work-related deaths last year. Of these, 16 came from occupational diseases and 18 from motor vehicle accidents, traumatic events and heart attacks. Each of these deaths had a devastating impact on the families and communities of workers. “

In December 2019, WorkSafe Saskatchewan launched the three-year strategy for fatalities and major injuries. This strategy addresses the high-risk industries, occupations, and tasks within those industries that result in death and serious injury.

“Working with our stakeholders is critical to understanding the needs of the industry and achieving sustainable results in injury prevention,” says Germain. “By working together on initiatives like Strategy, we can all help reduce our injury rates and protect all workers in the workplace.”

WCB’s 2020 annual report is available at www.wcbsask.com and the WCB executive will provide further details in its annual general meeting conference call scheduled for May 26th.

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