OHS Canada Magazine

WCB Nova Scotia holding rates flat despite volatility in financial markets, changing nature of injuries


August 19, 2022
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety nova scotia wcb WCB Nova Scotia

Volatility in the financial markets has caused a bit of balance-sheet pain, but WCB Nova Scotia says the province’s system remains on a path toward financial sustainability.

According to the WCB’s Q1 Report to the Community, released earlier this week, the overall system funded level dipped just below 100 per cent during the first three months of 2022, after reaching more than 106 per cent at the end of last year.

It’s a big change from the early 1990s when the WC was just 27 per cent funded, the agency said.

“Financial sustainability is about the long term,” said WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean. “Global markets will fluctuate, and that’s why our diversified investment strategy is so important. We need to continue the path we’re on when it comes to management of the funds that are there to protect Nova Scotia workers and employers from the impact of workplace injury into the future.”

Employer rate holding steady for 2023

To support continued system stability, WCB also announced today that the average employer rate will remain flat for 2023, at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll, where it’s held steady for almost two decades.

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WCB rates for individual employers vary based on injury experience both at an industry-wide and individual workplace level and will be shared with employers later this summer.

“We’re entering a phase where we hope change may be possible, but we’re not there at this moment,” MacLean says.

“We need to stay the course to ensure we continue to build a strong, sustainable system for the future.”

Changing nature of workplace injuries is challenging

MacLean says that preventing injuries and helping to support safe and timely return to work when an injury occurs remain the WCB’s top priorities. He says that the changing nature of workplace injuries makes that work more challenging, but also more important than ever.

“We have an aging population that is more likely to have complex injuries, and that require more support. We are also seeing a significant increase in psychological injuries that require different supports than those provided for physical injuries,” MacLean says.

“Although we’re making progress, it’s still taking too long to achieve healthy return-to-work outcomes, and it’s something that needs more focus and effort.”

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