There is good news again this year for employers in the Yukon.

The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board on Thursday announced the annual assessment rates for businesses, and they're going down.

The Board also plans to pay out $10 million in cash rebates to employers, in an effort to shrink a hefty $52 million reserve fund.

"Our funding policy is to return funds to employers when we have an excess," said Mark Pike, the board's chair. "That hasn't been enough, and as a result we now have much more money than we need."

Pike says claims costs are down, and the Board's investments are doing better than expected. 

The surplus has ballooned despite a bad year for workplace deaths and injuries in Yukon. In 2014, five people died on the job in Yukon, and 435 were injured badly enough to miss work, the Board says.

Yukon employers will see their workers' compensation premiums drop between two and 15 per cent next year.

The Board estimates the cost of running the compensation system to be roughly $2.30 per $100 of payroll. The average assessment rate for 2016 will be $1.85 per $100 of payroll.  

Rich Thompson

'We are comfortable that they've struck the right balance,' said Rich Thompson, president of Northern Vision Development and chair of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce. (CBC)

Businesses are welcoming the rate drop, and the rebate.

"We had maybe anticipated a larger rebate coming back, especially considering the economic circumstances in the Yukon right now," said Rich Thompson, president of Northern Vision Development, and chair of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce. "But we are comfortable that they've struck the right balance."

How the rebates will be allocated has not yet been determined. The Board says the $10 million will de distributed by the end of December.