Yukon workers' compensation rates will hold in 2009
The costs of compensating Yukoners who are injured on the job continue to rise, but the Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board says its assessment rates will stay the same next year for all but a few employers.
Board president Valerie Royle said new safety programs involving about 500 Yukon employers will help keep the board's future costs manageable.
Special investigators also continue to help save money for the compensation board, recently uncovering a seventh fraudulent claim worth an estimated $500,000.
"If we only looked at the claims cost history over the last 10 years, then the rates would go up. But we know our numbers are starting to turn down," Royle told reporters on Wednesday.
"We don't have 10 years of history to prove it yet, but we're confident enough, given all those factors … we can hold those rates and maintain the financial integrity of the system for 2009."
At the same time, Royle said if the board can get fewer injury claims coming in, "that will have a dramatic impact."
Assessment rates remain the same in 2009 except for three groups of employers: diamond drillers, placer miners and exploration companies were assigned higher rates because of extremely high injury rates.
"Their costs and risks to the system were so disproportionate to every other industry in those rate groups, that they needed to move," Royle said.
Complaints from employers have prompted the compensation board to review its entire classification system, Royle said.
A spokesperson for the Yukon Chamber of Commerce said it's pleased with Wednesday's news.
A total of 1,690 Yukoners were injured on the job to date this year. By comparison, the compensation board reported a record high 2,023 workplace injuries in the Yukon in 2007.