ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (the Commission) continues to report financial improvements. The Commission’s funded position (percentage of assets available to fund total liabilities) has increased from 91.7 per cent in 2012 to 106.6 per cent for 2013. The injury fund, which provides security for injured workers and sustainability for employers, increased from $843 million in 2012 to over $1 billion in 2013.
Based on the Commission’s funding policy, the funded position of 106.6 per cent is within the specified operating range, but remains below the target of 110 per cent. Until this target is reached, the $0.25 surcharge currently included in employers’ assessment rates will remain. This surcharge was introduced in order to address previous unfunded liabilities.
“Bringing the funded position to over 100 per cent, with an injury fund over $1 billion, is a very positive outcome of prudent financial management,” said Ralph Tucker, Chair, Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission. “The Commission will continue to adhere to its funding policy, as agreed with our labour and employer stakeholders, in order to ensure a financially secure workers’ compensation system into the future.”
The growth in the injury fund in 2013 is due to strong investment market performance, lower than expected cost of injuries, the $0.25 surcharge on assessment rates, and actuarial adjustments. The Commission will continue to monitor market performance, and cautions that fluctuations are possible.
In December 2013, the Commission announced that the average assessment rate for 2014 has decreased by $0.30 to $2.45. As well, the Maximum Compensable Assessable Earnings (MCAE), or wage-loss benefits, has increased by $6,000 plus an annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment to $60,760. These changes were the result of the improving financial position. The Commission will continue to monitor its financial performance, and future adjustments to assessment rates will be considered based on the Commission’s funding policy. Considering current market conditions and the cost of claims, such changes are not expected before two years or more.
The injury rate in 2013 remained at the historic low of 1.6 per 100 workers, the same as 2012. Yet, the rise of occupational disease continues to be a concern resulting in 25 fatalities in 2013 as compared to 20 in 2012. Given the long latency periods for many occupational diseases, particularly cancers, this will be a concern for many years.
The Commission’s 2013 Annual Performance Report is now available online at www.whscc.nl.ca. Call toll-free 1-800-563-9000 to request a printed copy.
Serving approximately 13,000 injured workers and more than 19,000 employers, the Commission is an employer-funded, no fault insurance system that promotes safe and healthy workplaces, provides return-to-work programs and offers fair compensation to injured workers and their dependents.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Director of Communications
Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission