REGINA — The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) remained fully funded in 2021 with the ability to cover the future costs of all claims in the system. The WCB’s 2021 annual report was tabled in the provincial legislature Monday.
In 2021, the WCB announced it would begin a multi-year transformation of how the organization serves workers and employers in the province.
“Over the coming few years, our staff, customers and partners will work together to reimagine how we serve our customers and improve their experience,” says the WCB’s CEO Phillip Germain. “All of this work supports our vision of eliminating injuries and restoring abilities.”
Despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, the WCB has remained fully funded, which means it was within the targeted funding percentage range of 105 per cent to 120 per cent in 2021.
“In Saskatchewan, the WCB is legislated under The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 to maintain an injury fund sufficient to finance injured worker claims, including earnings loss, physical and vocational rehabilitation, prevention initiatives and other obligations under the act,” says Germain. “This range ensures sufficient funds are available to meet required benefit levels and protects against unexpected claim activity or potential fluctuating economic conditions, like we saw during the pandemic.”
The WCB continued to provide additional COVID-19 support to workers and employers in the province through 2021.
“Many employers around the province suffered due to the impacts of the pandemic,” says Gord Dobrowolsky, chair of the WCB. “To ease the burden placed on Saskatchewan employers, we implemented a number of initiatives, including providing more than $5.6 million in 2020 and 2021 in cost relief related to claims from COVID-19. We’ve extended this cost relief to June 2022.”
The WCB also reported that it held employer premium rates at $1.17 when the required rate was $1.23, providing more than $13 million in financial relief to employers.
Injury data highlights in 2021 include:
- In 2021, 90 per cent of Saskatchewan workplaces reported zero injuries or fatalities for the second year in a row. Last year, 31 workplace fatalities were reported, down from 34 in 2020.
- The workplace total injury rate in 2021 increased to 4.56 injuries per 100 workers, representing a two per cent increase from the 2020 total injury rate of 4.46 per 100 workers.
- The 2021, time loss injury rate increased to 2.03 injuries per 100 workers, up 14 per cent from the 2020 rate of 1.78 injuries per 100 workers. One of the major factors that contributed to the time loss injury rate increase was the number of COVID-19 claims that impacted the rate in 2020 and 2021. Without COVID-19 claims, the time loss injury rate would have been 1.78 per 100 workers in 2021 (compared to 2.03 per 100 workers with COVID-19 claims) and 1.70 per 100 workers in 2020 (compared to 1.78 per 100 workers with COVID-19 claims). In 2021, the WCB accepted 1,035 compensation claims related to COVID-19, compared to 347 in 2020.
- The WCB continued to implement initiatives outlined in its Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy, launched in December 2019.
- Claim costs were $336.2 million in 2021, up from $319.6 million in 2020.
- The WCB’s injury fund was at $549.4 million as of year-end 2021, compared to $479.6 million in 2020.
- The WCB had premium revenues of $259 million in 2021 (up from $256 million in 2020) and investment income of $254 million in 2021 (up from $77 million in 2020). Investment income includes realized investment income of $113 million plus an increase in unrealized gains on investments of $141 million.
- The WCB covered 392,813 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2021, compared to 402,306 in 2020.
For a more detailed look at last year’s results, the WCB’s 2021 annual report is available online at wcbsask.com.