Backed by a new rate framework that will help ensure a financially sustainable system and transparency for employers, WCB Nova Scotia is holding the average employer assessment rate stable for 2024, at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll.
Based upon the overall financial health of the system, the new framework provides clear parameters for when changes would be considered to employer rates, and for when benefit changes might be recommended to Government. In 2020, after years of being underfunded, the WCB’s unfunded liability was eliminated. In the years since, the funded percentage has fluctuated, due mostly to market conditions. The percentage measures the amount of funds on hand to pay benefits already committed to in the future. The year-end 2022 funded percentage, which is used in rate-setting for 2024, was 92.9 per cent.
“A financially sustainable system is key, and fundamental to a workers’ compensation system of tomorrow,” says Karen Adams, WCB Nova Scotia’s new CEO. “This rate framework allows for clear, transparent guidelines for when it’s appropriate to make rate changes, and to recommend benefit changes, in a thoughtful and strategic way.”
The unfunded liability held the system back for years. In a more financially sustainable environment, it’s more important than ever to ensure that situation never repeats itself, she says, by ensuring both rate and benefit changes happen in a sustainable, balanced way.
The Approved Rate Range framework provides parameters for when the average rate could be lowered, or when it would possibly need to increase. It also provides a guide for when increased benefits might be appropriate and could be recommended to government.
“A properly funded system is a critical foundation for rate and benefit improvements in the system,” Adams adds.
More information about the Approved Rate Range is available here.
In 2024, 57 per cent of employers will see their rate decrease, or stay the same, while 43 per cent will see an increase.
Notably, rates are decreasing in the long-term care, home care and disability support sectors, a key indication that collaborative efforts to improve outcomes through workplace safety initiatives and investments by Government are paying off.
Nova Scotia’s rate model is structured so that industries with high claim costs pay more, and industries with low claim costs pay less.
“The best way to reduce claim costs is by making workplaces safer, and by implementing strong return to work programs,” says Adams.
“Workplaces have changed a lot in the last few years. So has our understanding of what it means to provide a safe workplace,” she adds. “As an organization that supports workplace safety in this province, we need to evolve too, in order to ensure we continue to meet the needs of working Nova Scotians today, and for years to come.”
Read the full news release here.
For more information about 2024 WCB employer assessment rates and how they’re calculated, visit wcb.ns.ca/rates.