Despite long-term progress, WCB Nova Scotia reports highlight ongoing need to reduce the impact of workplace injury (Aug. 8/19)

WCB Nova Scotia Releases 2019 Q1 Report to the Community and 2018 Annual Report 

HALIFAX, NS – The amount of time lost to workplace injuries continues to be a challenge in Nova Scotia, according to WCB Nova Scotia’s 2019 Q1 Report to the Community and 2018 Annual Report, both released today. 

“When we take a long-term view, we have made progress over the last decade to reduce the impact of workplace injury on Nova Scotia families, but we continue to face short-term challenges,” said WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean. “It’s taking longer to achieve return-to-work when workers are hurt on the job. One reason for that is that the face of workplace injury is changing. Claims today are often more complex. The population is older, and the injury itself is often not straightforward and much more likely to be a mix of physical injury and mental health considerations.”

During the first three months of 2019, both the number of days lost to workplace injury and the average duration of a claim increased. The index used to measure average claim duration increased to 128 days, from 127 days at the end of 2018. It was 120 days in the same quarter of last year.  

There was also a slight increase in the number of time-loss injuries, due in large part to more slips, trips, and falls during an icy winter. Under new presumptive legislation for PTSD in front-line and emergency response workers, we also saw an increase in claims for psychological injuries.

The time-loss injury rate increased to 1.77 time-loss injuries per 100 WCB-covered workers in Q1, after hitting its lowest point ever of 1.72 at the end of 2018.

Eight Nova Scotians died at work or because of work between January and March. Two of those workplace deaths were caused by traumatic injuries at a workplace, and six were from occupational disease or from existing health conditions. 

Modernization efforts were the main focus of the first three months of 2019 for the WCB as it prepared to launch its new core systems in June. 

Building on a statistical summary released in April, the WCB also released its 2018 Annual Report today, which includes a full financial recap of 2018. 

Investment volatility at the end of 2018 led to a total comprehensive loss. However, already, during the first quarter of 2019, investment income has recovered, with $116 million in market gains. This compares to $18 million in investment income during the same quarter of 2018.

WCB-managed investments continue to perform above industry benchmarks, and the WCB remains on track to eliminate the unfunded liability by 2020-2024, ending the year with its funded ratio at 85.5 per cent, and ending Q1 with a funded ratio of 90.3 per cent.

Phase one of a review focusing on governance and long-term sustainability by the Office of the Auditor General was released in late 2018. The phase two report followed in May 2019. While the audit found WCB is effectively managing claims for workplace injury and return to work, it also made important recommendations for improvement. The WCB accepted all recommendations, and is beginning to implement them. 


Q1 2019 at a glance:

Number of time-loss claims in Q1 – 1,517
Time-loss claims per 100 covered workers – 1.77
Most common injury type in Q1 - 872 muscle strain injuries from lifting
Composite Duration Index – 128
Time loss days paid per 100 covered workers – 256
Acute workplace fatalities YTD – 2
Chronic fatalities YTD (due to occupational disease or other health conditions) – 6
Claim payments made YTD – $63 million
Five-year rate of return on investment – 6.7 per cent

See more of our Q1 results here 

2018 Annual Report highlights:

Number of time-loss claims – 5,816
Time-loss claims per 100 covered workers – 1.72            
Composite Duration Index – 127
Acute workplace fatalities – 14
Chronic workplace fatalities (due to occupational diseases or other health issues) – 26
Claim payments made - $237 million
Funded Ratio – 85.5 per cent

See more of our 2018 results here

For more information, contact:

Sarah Reeves, WCB Nova Scotia
o: (902) 491-8103 
m: (902) 717-1343