Manitoba WCB report highlights impact of COVID-19 pandemic
The Workers Compensation Board’s (WCB) 2020 Annual Report and Five Year Plan was tabled in the Manitoba Legislature on May 10.
The report highlights the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the organization, initiatives implemented to maintain customer service levels for employers and injured workers and financial relief efforts for employers.
“The WCB faced the challenges wrought by the pandemic with resilience and fortitude, ensuring customer service remained a top priority while the majority of our staff worked remotely,” said Richard Deacon, President and CEO of the WCB, in a news release.
“The WCB offered employers financial respite by extending payment terms and suspending late payment penalties and, although our premium revenues decreased, our reserve fund allowed us to once again offer a surplus distribution of $36 million to employers.”
While the trend of fewer injuries continued last year, an uptick in COVID-19 claims offset the decrease. By the end of 2020, the WCB reported the time loss injury rate at 2.5* per 100 full time workers (2.3* if COVID-19 claims were excluded).
“Employers continued to make workplace safety a priority, including the process of becoming SAFE Work Certified,” said Deacon. “I’m pleased that $6 million in prevention rebates were distributed to 1,086 SAFE Work Certified employers in 2020.”
The prudent financial stewardship that has guided the WCB over the last number of years allowed it to withstand the financial uncertainty the pandemic created. The WCB ended 2020 with an operating surplus of $73 million as a result of strong investment returns and reduced claim costs. The WCB fund reserve was 143.7 per cent, well above the 130 per cent funding target.
The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba promotes safety and health in Manitoba workplaces and aims to help prevent and reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. Working with its partners, the WCB promotes safe and healthy workplaces, facilitates recovery and return to work, provides compassionate and supportive compensation services for workers and employers, and ensures responsible financial stewardship.