WCB Nova Scotia releases 2019 employer assessment rates (9/4/18)

September 4, 2018

HALIFAX, NS – WCB Nova Scotia employer assessment rates will remain stable in 2019. The average assessment rate has been $2.65 per $100 of payroll for the past 15 years.

Individual assessment rates will be changing for some employers, based on both their business and industry safety records: 56 per cent of Nova Scotia employers will pay the same or less in 2019 than they did this year, while 44 per cent will see an increase. 

“Our rate model in Nova Scotia is structured so that industries with high claim costs pay more, and industries with low claim costs pay less,” says WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean. “While we do have industries making progress, many are still seeing higher rates due to poor performance.” 

Thanks to an increased focus on developing a strong safety culture, employers in air transportation, construction and fishing are among those who will pay less next year.  Dry materials trucking, golf courses and sawmills are among the industries that will pay more.

Nova Scotians are still more likely to be hurt caring for others in their homes than in any other line of work. While the assessment rate for nursing homes has begun to stabilize, the rate for home care will reach $8.80 per $100 of payroll in 2019, a nine per cent increase over the previous year.  

“While we have seen significant progress over the last decade, the impact of workplace injury in Nova Scotia is still too high,” says WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean. “Behind every number is a person and family whose lives have been changed by workplace injury, some of whom will never be the same. Both the human and financial costs of poor safety records affect us all.”   

Employers with claims costs significantly and consistently higher than their industry peers – 96 in 2019 - will face a surcharge over and above their normal assessment rate. 

MacLean says the best way to reduce rates is by making workplaces safer, and helping workers who are injured make a healthy, safe and timely return to the workplace. “We have seen the most success from organizations and industries that have made a top-down commitment to making safety a top priority. Everyone has a role to play when it comes to contributing to a safe work environment and everyone has the opportunity to be a leader.”  

The WCB is in the midst of a major business transformation and is currently replacing its aging claims and assessment systems, with a launch planned for early 2019. The new systems will provide WCB-covered employers more online services and efficient processes that better support prevention and return to work efforts. It will also modernize the way claims data is collected and used to calculate employer rates.

For more information about 2019 WCB employer assessment rates and how they’re calculated, visit wcb.ns.ca/rates. The 2019 list of surcharged employers can be found here

2019 assessment rates at a glance:
• 2019 Average rate: $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll
• Number of covered employers: 19,500
• Employers with the same rate or a rate decrease: 56%
• Employers with a rate increase: 44%
• Number of surcharged employers: 96
• Percentage of covered employers that are surcharged: 0.47%
• Time-loss claims registered in 2017: 5,906
• Injury rate (time loss injuries per 100 covered workers): 1.76
• Acute fatalities in 2017: 5
• Chronic fatalities (occupational disease or health conditions) in 2017: 16
• Funded ratio: 89%


Sample of 2019 rate changes by industry/sector:

 Industry 2019 Rate  2018 Rate  Change 
 Nursing homes $5.79  $5.87 -5% 
 Home care  $8.80 $8.05  9% 
Paint and body shops  $2.17 $3.60  -40% 
 Commercial construction $2.60  $2.84 -8% 
 Commercial fishing $4.55 $4.92  -8% 
 Urban transit $6.21 $5.34  16% 
 Dry bulk materials trucking   $4.05  $3.38  20% 
 Veterinary services $1.69  $1.09  55% 
 Sawmills $7.00  $6.26  12% 
 Residential construction $6.78  $7.32  -7% 

For more information, contact: 
Nicole Halloran, Communications Advisor, WCB Nova Scotia 
902-491-8102 | 902-223-8901


Sarah Reeves, Communications Advisor, WCB Nova Scotia
902-491-8103 | 902-717-1343