Yukon compensation board shuffles categories
The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board has introduced a new system for assessing rates for various industries and employers, meaning some employers will pay less but others will pay more.
About 1,800 employers in the Yukon will see an assessment rate decrease next year as a result of the compensation board's changes, with the average rate for 2010 going down from $3 to $2.95 per $100 of payroll.
Another 1,100 employers will see rate increases, but board chairman Craig Tuton said their rates will fall if they reduce their injury and claim numbers.
"I would call it an incentive and there certainly is motivation there, isn't there?" Tuton told reporters in Whitehorse on Thursday.
"There has to be a method to reward those industry groups and those industries that are getting the message, and that are doing the work that's really needed to change their workplaces into safer and healthier workplaces."
Not everyone is pleased with the board's changes, which has involved employers and sectors being moved into different categories based on performance.
For instance, Northerm Windows and Doors in Whitehorse has been moved into a new category that will see its rates double next year and the year after.
Jane Olson, Northerm's finance director, said its rates are set to rise even though the company had implemented all of the compensation board's safety programs and cut down its workplace incidents from seven to one last year.
Olson said the company will have to come up with $20,000 in the coming year, and possibly more the following year.
"It hurts, yes," Olson said, adding that she wonders if the compensation board would identify companies in their new category who have many injuries and claims.
But board president Valerie Royle said it cannot name companies, citing privacy concerns.
"So I can't tell you who's there, but I could send out an invitation from you to come to a meeting because you want to discuss the rate," Royle said.
Olson said something needs to be done to ensure the company can survive a potential $40,000 hit.