Restaurants in New Brunswick are bracing for another spike in their labour costs in 2019. On Nov. 8 the provincial government announced an upcoming 72 per cent increase in the average WorksafeNB assessment rate, which is increasing from $1.70 to $2.92 per $100 of payroll.
Over the past two years, rates for restaurateurs have increased by 75 per cent, while the WorksafeNB Accident Fund surplus has been reduced — by end of this year it will have dropped from 138 per cent to less than 100 per cent.
The high assessment rates are being driven by the increasing costs of workers’ compensation claims, which have doubled from $199 million in 2014, to a projected $400 million in 2018. During this period, future liabilities (the funds required to pay for all future claim costs related to a current year injury) also increased by $800 million.
It is important to note that the costs of these claims are occurring despite a declining accident rate. Costs are increasing because of legislative changes introduced in 2015 that have led to claims lasting longer and the workers’ compensation system paying for benefits not related to workplace injuries.
In July, an independent task force, comprised of equal representation of both workers and employers, reviewed the workers’ compensation system in New Brunswick. The task force released 28 recommendations, including proposed legislative changes, all of which are supported by Restaurants Canada.
The ongoing government instability resulting from the uncertain outcome of the September election has delayed the consideration of legislative changes based on the recommendations from the task force. Restaurants Canada is urging the new government in New Brunswick to make updating the Workers’ Compensation Act a priority to protect employers from more rate increases, ensure benefits for injured workers and safeguard the longterm sustainability of the system.
Click here to learn more about this and other key issues that Restaurants Canada rallied around during the New Brunswick election campaign. You can help continue to engage the province’s newly elected representatives on issues of importance to the foodservice sector. Together we can make a difference.
If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-387-5649 ext. 5000.