Following years of advocacy from Retail Council of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Employer’s Council and other industry associations, 2014 has seen the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) reduce the average employer insurance premium in Newfoundland and Labrador by $0.30 to $2.45 per $100 of payroll. This is the first reduction in these premiums since 2006.

Employers were disappointed that 2014 also saw WHSCC increase the maximum compensable and assessable earnings (MCAE) limit by more than $6,000 to $60,760. This will only affect new claims.

These changes came into effect on January 1, 2014.

The increase in assessable payroll means that some employers will now pay more to the WHSCC. However, the rate reductions are significant enough to ensure that under these changes, the vast majority of employers (92%) will pay less to the WHSCC in 2014.

Even with the change in the MCAE limit, it is RCC’s interpretation that all retailers in the province will be net beneficiaries of the WHSCC rate changes.

What RCC Did/Next Steps:

For years RCC has been raising this issue through meetings with government Ministers in Newfoundland and Labrador. RCC has also raised the issue in its pre-budget submissions to the provincial government.

RCC has also discussed and received counsel on the issue from the Newfoundland and Labrador Employer’s Council.

RCC commended the government on the WHSCC’s rate reduction but pointed out that the WHSCC structure is still inefficient and cost prohibitive. RCC is worried that given the continued significant costs and inefficiencies, the January 2014 rate reductions may not be sustainable.

As the WHSCC ultimately reports through to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, RCC recommended that the government mandate the WHSCC to look at best practices in workers’ compensation and harmonize with other Canadian provinces. Workers’ compensation costs and claim durations in Newfoundland and Labrador need to decrease so that employer rate reductions can be sustainable.

Background:

For over two decades Newfoundland and Labrador has had the highest workers’ compensation employer insurance premiums of any province in the country.

The WHSCC still covers a higher percentage of the province’s workforce than any other jurisdiction in Canada.

The average recovery time for work place injuries in the province is nearly double the national average.

Injured workers will continue to receive a maximum of 80% of pre-injury earnings, to a maximum of $60,760, for new claims only.

Further information on these important changes for retailers can be found on the WHSCC website.

Or on the website of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employer’s Council.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Jim Cormier at:
[email protected] or 902-422-4144.