Mr. Gord Dobrowolsky,
Saskatchewan is one of the most dangerous jurisdictions in Canada to be a worker. Injury prevention, training, and education should be prioritized, and adequately funded, to drive down time-loss and injury rates in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan WCB’s funding policy can be adjusted to better achieve these goals.
The Saskatchewan WCB should aim to be a leader among provinces and territories with regards to its percentage range that would determine if it is fully funded. I recommend that the Saskatchewan WCB adjust its fully-funded percentage range from 105% to 120%, to 110% to 140%.
The Saskatchewan WCB should use its funding policy to prioritize injury prevention, training, and education. I recommend that if the Saskatchewan WCB has funds in excess of its fully-funded percentage range, that those excess funds not be distributed to employers, but rather set aside into a special prevention, training, and education fund. I further recommend that employers can then access the special fund on application to, and approval by, the WCB for prevention, training, and education initiatives a given employer is undertaking.
Here are some facts that reinforce why I make the above recommendations:
From 2000 to 2014, Saskatchewan had the second highest average work-related lost-time injury rate;
From 2000 to 2014, Saskatchewan had the highest average injury fatality rate of all the provinces – 504% higher than Manitoba’s rate, and 69% higher than Alberta’s rate;
Since 2000, 577 workers have been killed on the job in Saskatchewan – as recognized by the WCB, and;
Despite high injury and fatality rates, as evidenced above, when the Saskatchewan WCB had excess earnings for its 2014 fiscal year it sent the surplus of $141 million to employers – with no parameters around the need to use the money to drive down injuries and fatalities. Similarly, when the Saskatchewan WCB had excess earnings for its 2015 fiscal year, it sent its $281.5 million surplus to employers. Again, with no conditions to use the money for prevention, training, and education.