Saskatchewan to raise WCB premiums

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REGINA, Sask. — Saskatchewan companies may have to shell out an additional 9.1 per cent in Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) premiums next year.

The Crown Corporation has projected a $67-million operating deficit this year and chief executive officer, Peter Federko says a premium hike is necessary.

“With rate increases of 9.1 per cent we are able to put this organization back on solid financial ground,” he said at the board’s annual meeting.

The current rate is $1.75 for every $100 of assessable payroll, but that will likely climb to $1.91 by Jan. 1. However it’s likely that would be followed by a 6.8 per cent hike in 2004, much to the dismay of business groups.

The proposed premium hike is drawing criticism from businesses, especially since the WCB recently completed a $3.15-million renovation of its offices.

“That’s something a small employer just can’t relate to, the fact that they’re getting new rugs and new desks when their rates are going through the roof,” says Marilyn Braun-Pollon of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The WCB says the changes were required to bring the building in line with occupational health and safety guidelines.

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