Workers' Compensation Safety Board of Nova Scotia

WCB Announces 2016 Employer Rates (Sept 1/2015)

Average rate to hold steady in first year of new improvement-driven 2016-2020 Strategic Plan

Fishing safety improvements lead to lowest industry rate in 12 years

The 2016 employer rate announcement brings good news for the fishing industry, which will see its lowest rate since 2004. At $6.51 per $100 of assessment, the industry rate is decreasing 19 per cent in 2016. Read more.

September 1, 2015 – Halifax, NS – The average employer assessment rate for workplace injury insurance will hold steady in 2016, as WCB Nova Scotia commits to implementing an ambitious path of injury prevention, return to work, and improved service outlined in its new 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

The average rate of $2.65 per $100 of assessment remains unchanged, as it has for the past 12 years. However while the average rate remains unchanged, most employers will see their rates rise or fall, based on their industry and company claims experience.

Workers’ compensation in Nova Scotia remains underfunded, meaning there are more benefits owed to workers in the future than assets available today. Just 27 per cent funded in the early 1990s, the funded percentage improved to 77 per cent by 2014, thanks to years of injury prevention and return to work improvements, and prudent financial management.

Achieving full funding remains a pillar in the WCB’s new strategic plan. That goal can only be accomplished through continued gains in injury prevention, and more timely return to work when injury does occur. But the new strategic plan also makes it clear that something more is needed.

During the planning process, the WCB heard from hundreds of stakeholders, including injured workers and employers, who clearly said the WCB needs to modernize its paper-based processes and outdated computer systems because they don’t allow the kind of service workers and employers expect.

“The feedback from stakeholders was loud and clear,” said Stuart MacLean, CEO. “Prevention and return to work improvements must continue, but they absolutely must be enabled by modernization. We must change, or we risk not meeting the outcomes that Nova Scotia needs to achieve.”

The WCB has already introduced several technological enhancements. In announcing the 2016 rates to employers, 100 employers who actively use our online portal MyAccount will receive their rate package online only as part of a pilot; no paper statement will be sent.

Employers can now register for coverage entirely online. And soon, workers will be able to receive direct deposit for more types of benefits. In addition, workers and employers will be able to check the status of files and find other information through an improved telephone system. Other improvements are planned over the coming years. The WCB will make these improvements supported by sound business cases that do not impact the funding model or rate and benefit structures.

“These modernizations will create efficiencies and provide a return on investment. But, they must support continued work in injury prevention and improvements in return-to-work outcomes to reduce claims costs, which remain our fundamental goals,” MacLean said.

Several industries including Fishing, Aquaculture, Commercial Construction, Dry Bulk and Bulk Liquids Trucking, the Sign & Display Industry and Livestock Farming saw progress in claims costs, leading to improvements in their 2016 rate (See Sidebar: Fishing safety improvements lead to lowest industry rate in 12 years).

On the other hand, claims costs increased in Residential Construction, Offshore Oil & Gas, the Feed Industry, Plastics Manufacturing, Wrecking & Demolition, Framing, Masonry, Insulation & Siding and Electrical Work, leading to increases for those industries. 108 employers in the province will receive a surcharge.


To date in 2015, the WCB has provided surcharge rebates to employers who made qualifying investments in safety totaling $999,000, and has issued $1.42 million in rebates to employers in Construction and Trucking who received safety certification – either the WCB’s Safety Certified accreditation or the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association’s Certificate of Recognition (COR). These financial incentives are helping businesses strengthen their safety programs and improve outcomes.

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2016-2020 Strategic Plan

For more detail on how WCB rates are set visit: www.wcb.ns.ca/rates.

Surcharged Employers in 2016

For more detail on Nova Scotia’s Workplace Safety Strategy, visit http://workplacesafetystrategy.ca