Annual Assessment Rates
Annually, the WSCC by way of legislation collects assessments from employers. These assessments cover a wide range of activities and services that are not often discussed or are overlooked from time to time. For intents and purposes, the WSCC – among other things – is an insurance company. Over 100 years ago, Justice Meredith in Ontario came up with what is known as the Meredith Principles and the historic compromise. These two things are still fundamental in the way workers’ compensation boards around the world operate.
These principles are based on the following:
- NO FAULT COMPENSATION: workers are paid benefits regardless of how the injury occurred. The worker and employer waive the right to sue. There is no argument over responsibility or liability for an injury.
- SECURITY OF BENEFITS: a fund is established to guarantee funds exist to pay benefits to workers.
- COLLECTIVE LIABILITY: all employers share liability for workplace injury insurance. The total cost of the compensation system is shared by all employers. All employers contribute to a common fund. Financial liability becomes their collective responsibility.
- INDEPENDENT ADMINISTRATION: the organizations who administer workers’ compensation insurance are separate from government.
- EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION: only workers’ compensation organizations can provide workers’ compensation insurance. All compensation claims are made directly to the compensation board. The board is the decision-maker and final authority for all claims.
When you read each individual principle separately, they mean a great deal not only to the worker but the employer as well. Both are protected by these fundamental principles, which in the big picture is a great thing. In addition to insurance, the WSCC is also mandated by way of legislation to be the regulators of the Safety Act, the Mine Health and Safety Act, the Explosive Use Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act and related Regulations attached to each Act. All of these Acts are created by the Government of the Northwest Territories or the Government of Nunavut, depending on which territory you are in.
From 2015-2017, our strategic plan moved the WSCC to be a more collaborative and educational regulator, rather than one that was always looking to charge employers. Yes, there are times when collaboration and education does not work, so we do move forward with charges under one of these Acts.
Starting in 2018-2022, we have a new strategic plan that further moves us down the road of collaboration, ensuring everyone knows we are all responsible for safety. In the new year, I will outline our strategic plan and where we all fit.
I am often asked, “so where does the money we, as employers give you, go?” Very good question of course. Here are a few stats that may help answer your questions.
In the NWT and Nunavut we have approximately 41,486 workers employed by 3,567 employers. The average weekly earnings of a worker is $1,364.12. During the course of a year – in this case, 2016 – we received 3,567 reported claims, of which 826 were workers missing time from work. As a result of this and including pensions from previous years, the WSCC paid out just over $32 million dollars in costs. No, that is not a typo. For such a small jurisdiction, that is a great deal of money. Our aim moving forward is to ensure employers and workers know the cost of running a system that has great value to everyone.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article: employers, your 2018 assessment rates have arrived and are now available to you on WSCC Connect. Visit WSCC Connect to conveniently access your individual rates, as well as view the subclass rates for all industries for the upcoming year. You can view the WSCC’s current and historical rates by Class & Subclass and by Specific Industry.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility and cannot be contracted or given away. With your help, our aim is to reduce our claims costs, thereby reducing assessment rates for everyone.
If you would like to discuss this article, claims costs, rates, or anything else related to the WSCC please contact me directly by clicking on the blue box below. I always look forward to hearing from our stakeholders.
On behalf of everyone here at the WSCC I wish you and your families all the best this holiday season. DG