Employers operating in the territory will have to cough up 5 cents more in Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) average assessment rates in the new year.
The ante will be upped from $2.05 cents in 2018 to $2.10 in 2019. Come Jan. 1, employers will be required to pay $2.10 to WSCC per $100 in accessible payroll, according to a news release issued by WSCC on Nov. 26.
All employers operating in the NWT and Nunavut are required to pay assessments to the WSCC.
The funds collected annually by WSCC – an “arm’s length” government agency, go towards providing compensation, wage replacement, medical aid, pensions and rehabilitation’s while covering the organization’s administrative costs, stated the news release.
The WSCC oversees the Workers’ Compensation Acts, Safety Acts, Explosives Use Acts and the Mine Health and Safety Acts, according to its website.
“The WSCC Governance Council calculates assessment rates in consultation with independent actuaries through past trend analysis,” a representative stated in the news release.
From 2014 to 2016, the average assessment rate held steady at $2.00 even.
So, what’s driving up the costs?
With WSCC acting, effectively, as an insurance agency, more claims mean more costs.
In July 2017, at a worksite in a quarry near Hwy 3 south of Yellowknife, a young labourer sustained a serious injury after getting his arm caught in a conveyor pulley. The employee was left with steel plates in his arm which will stay there for life.
After WSCC filed five charges against the company and supervisor in June, the transportation company was slapped with a $40,000 fine.
In June 2016, a 19-year-old Australian man employed in Inuvik was killed after a road packing machine flipped over with him inside.
Under the revamped 2019 assessment rates, Outdoor Recreation and Tourism sectors take the biggest hits to their pocketbooks. That “subclass” must pay $6.65 in 2019, a nine cent raise from the year before.
Mining operations, mining services, oil and gas servicing, construction and airport transportation make up the rest of the top spots, while Government of the NWT and Nunavut and Public Utilities sits at the bottom on the list. They will pay $1. 57 in 2019, a jump from $0.93 the previously year.
The WSCC offers services to nearly 40,000 workers and 4,000 employees in the NWT, processing over 3,000 claims a year, and conducts over 1,000 inspections yearly to ensure safety regulations are up to part in Northern workplaces and worksites.