The NL Employers’ Council recently travelled across the province hosting focus groups for employers to discuss the impact the high cost of the Worker’s Compensation system has on local businesses and the economy. Newfoundland & Labrador has had the highest Worker’s Compensation insurance premiums for employers (currently 37% higher than the Canadian average), for almost the last 20 years. Employers across the province expressed frustration, and in some cases outright anger, with the system’s failure to bring costs in line with the Canadian average.
The issue of high Worker’s Compensation Premiums is an issue not just for employers, but for everyone in the province. Employers at these focus groups spoke of being unable to hire needed support staff, losing bids on projects to competitors in other provinces, and being unable to increase wages for staff to competitve levels due to high Worker’s Compensation premiums. With the projected labour shortage, employers in this province are challenged to compete with the wages of Alberta – whose Worker’s Compensation premiums are, on average, 45% lower than those paid in Newfoundland & Labrador.
These focus groups were held to gather feedback from employers to shape the position of the NLEC in the ongoing Statutory Review of the Workplace, Health, Safety & Compensation Commission (WHSCC). It is clear that fundamental legislative changes to our system are needed in order to address the concerns of employers, and to mitigate the impact high Worker’s Compensation premiums are having on our province. The NLEC will be making multiple recommendations through the Statutory Review process for changes that focus on reducing the cost of the system, while maintaining current benefit levels to workers.
View some of the media coverage of these focus groups:
The Packet “Pay more, get less” – Feb. 16th 2012
The Telegram “Council calls for reduced workers’ compensation costs” – Feb. 27th, 2012
CBC Radio “Central Morning Show” – Feb. 29th, 2012
The Beacon “Sky high” – March 8th, 2012
The Packet “Calm before the storm” – March 8th, 2012
CBC Radio “West Coast Morning Show” – March 20, 2012
The Western Star “Worker’s Compensation premiums too high” – March 21, 2012
The Western Star “Businesses trying to survive hurt by high worker’s comp premiums” – March 22, 2012