Fishing safety improvements lead to lowest industry rate in 12 years (Sept 1/2015)

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.

“This strong drop in the overall industry rate demonstrates the safety progress we’ve seen firsthand over the past few years and have been hearing about from fishermen,” said Stuart MacLean, WCB Nova Scotia CEO. “Safety is becoming more of a priority, and, as a result, claims costs are down, which is now having an impact on the rates paid by employers in this industry.”

For more than 10 years, rates in fishing have been steadily increasing, as a direct result of injury and tragedy at sea. The rate reached its highest point of $8.06 in 2015 due to the challenging 2013 year when eight lives were lost in fishing tragedies.

In 2014, however, Nova Scotia’s fishing safety story started to change. The Safe at Sea Alliance was formed, and change that had been slowly starting to emerge gained momentum. Although payroll was up by 17 per cent that year, the number of days lost due to injury dropped 34 per cent – more than any other industry. The improved 2016 rate is a direct result of this progress.

“While this significant rate decrease is good news overall, the industry continues to have one of the highest rates, well above the WCB’s base employer rate of $2.65 per $100,” said MacLean. “So there is still much more work to be done and the positive momentum needs to continue. The industry can’t stop now.”

Earlier this year, the Safe at Sea Alliance launched Fishing Safety Now, a plan by and for Nova Scotia’s fishing industry. The recommendations included in the plan are intended to help ensure these improvements continue, with fewer people getting injured and fewer lives lost in this industry.

Two industry-based groups – the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council and the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia – are leading the plan implementation.

Other fishing-related industries will also see rate decreases in 2016. Aquaculture and fish buyers are both down by 20 per cent to $3.04 and $2.55 respectively, while fish processing went down two per cent to a rate of $3.59 per $100.

Related links:

2016 Employer Rate Announcement