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The WorkSafeNB office in Saint John. Image: © 2022 Google

WorkSafeNB lowering assessment rates for 2024

By Brad Perry Oct 10, 2023 | 6:09 AM

New Brunswick employers will see a break in their WorkSafeNB assessment rates in the new year.

The average 2024 rate has been set at $1.18 per $100 of assessable payroll, down from $1.31.

Officials said it comes amid fewer workplace incidents, improved return-to-work outcomes, and a strong funded position.

WorkSafeNB said it has achieved a funding position of 147.7 per cent, well above the target range of 115 to 125 per cent.

“As a result, a portion of the surplus has been distributed through a $0.21 credit included in the $1.18 average rate,” the Crown corporation said in a news release.

Based on currently available data, New Brunswick will now have the lowest average rate in Atlantic Canada and the second lowest in the country.

While the average rate has been set at $1.18, individual employer rates will vary based on their industry and individual safety performance.

This is the fifth consecutive decrease in assessment rates, which reached $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll in 2019.

“The sustainability of the workers’ compensation system is based on striking and maintaining a fair balance between the needs of both workers and employers,” president and CEO Tim Petersen said in the release.

“Reducing the average assessment rate while improving benefits further realizes this goal – the best possible benefits for injured workers and their families, while maintaining fair and affordable rates for employers.”

The rate reduction comes as WorkSafeNB pushes to raise the loss of earning benefit from 85 to 90 per cent and increase the maximum annual earnings threshold.

The Crown corporation is also looking to reduce the rate charged to fund the Firefighters’ Compensation Act’s disability fund from $360 to $220 per firefighter.

Consultations expected to be launched in 2024 will explore expanding the list of cancers covered under a presumption clause for firefighters to align with other Canadian jurisdictions.