New Brunswick

Employers to pay smaller WorkSafe premium increase than expected

New Brunswick employers will be getting a small break on the premiums they pay to Worksafe New Brunswick next year.

Province promises other changes in law governing WorkSafeNB

Labour Minister Trevor Holder thanked all parties in the house for quick passage of the bill, which made the lesser premium increase possible. (CBC)

New Brunswick employers will be getting a small break on the premiums they pay to WorkSafeNB New Brunswick in 2019.

Labour Minister Trevor Holder said in the legislature Thursday that the rate on Jan. 1 will increase to $2.65 on every $100 of payroll, not the higher $2.92 announced by WorkSafe earlier this fall.

"We suspect that future rates will continue to be more predictable for employers," Holder said.

The premium was $1.11 in 2016, $1.48 in 2017 and $1.70 this year.

The reduction is the result of passage of a bill earlier this week that changes the law governing the Crown corporation. Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau gave royal assent to the legislation Wednesday.

Holder thanked all parties in the house for quick passage of the bill, which was introduced Nov. 27.  

Employers pay premiums to WorkSafe to cover the Crown corporation's operations, including benefits to workers injured on the job.

With the original 2019 increase, WorkSafe estimated the 7,000 smallest employers in the province would be forking over an additional $700 each.

The legislation ended the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal's power to overrule WorkSafe policies when hearing claim cases. That power was created by legislation passed in 2014 by the previous Progressive Conservative government.

An independent task force made up of employers and workers concluded earlier this year that the new powers for the tribunal, and its rewriting of WorkSafe policies, drove up the costs of benefits, forcing the board to raise premiums.

The legislation passed this week implemented only some of the task force's recommendations. Holder said Thursday the government would work with WorkSafe to put the others in effect.

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