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Alta. WCB premiums likely to rise

EDMONTON, Alta. -- Alberta employers and O/Os may be shelling out more in Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) premium...

EDMONTON, Alta. — Alberta employers and O/Os may be shelling out more in Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) premiums as early as next year.

WCB chairman, Rick Lelacheur, says as the severity of injuries increases and employees get older, it’s inevitable that rates will climb. Premiums, which were set at $1.68 per $100 this year could go up as high as $1.95 per $100 next year alone, Lelacheur announced at the WCB’s annual general meeting yesterday.

The WCB also announced it accrued a $149.8 million deficit over the past fiscal year, which is attributed to the increasing use of private health clinics to heal injured workers.

“Our job is to get people who are injured back to work as fast as possible,” Lelacheur said in defence of the practice of using private health clinics. He also notes that as the workforce ages, workers are taking longer to heal and get back on the job. This is resulting in rising medical and drug costs, another contributing factor to the proposed premium increase.

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