Manitoba launches review of WCB process for setting employer rates

Province hopes to strengthen prevention, prevent claim suppression

Manitoba is launching an external review of the Workers Compensation Board's (WCB's) process for setting employer premiums. The review will look for ways to strengthen employer incentives for more effective injury prevention while targeting the illegal practice of claim suppression, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard said.

British Columbia workplace health and safety expert Paul Petrie will work with the WCB and Manitoba Family Services and Labour staff to conduct the review, which will include gathering input from groups across the province that represent injured workers, employers and organized labour, the minister said.

"The review will help us in our development of a new injury-prevention strategy," said Howard. "The current method used to assess WCB's employer premiums has been in place for over 10 years. While it has mostly worked well, the review will look at ways to improve it by ensuring that injuries are reported and prevention efforts are rewarded."

A separate, comprehensive analysis of injury-prevention activities in the province is currently underway to help reduce the number of workplace injuries and time-loss injury rates. This analysis began in June and is a collaborative effort between industry, labour, stakeholders, the WCB, the advisory council on workplace safety and health, and Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health.

The report on the WCB's process for setting employer rates is to be submitted to the minister in the spring of 2013.

Over the last decade, the Manitoba government has increased the number of safety and health officers, along with the number of workplace inspections. The province has also updated safety and health legislation, improved training and launched the SAFE Work public awareness campaign, Howard said, adding this has led to a 41 per cent reduction in Manitoba's time-loss injury rate.

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