MONCTON – There’s still a ways to go to bring the rate down to where it was three years ago, but WorkSafeNB is taking a step in that direction with the announcement that the provisional assessment rate for businesses will drop to $2.40 per $100 payroll.
Economic Development and Small Business Minister Mary Wilson made the announcement at the Moncton region’s Business Excellence Awards Wednesday night.
“WorksafeNB rates have been a challenge for business owners here in this room and across the province,” said Wilson.
The new rate of $2.40 represents a 9.4 per cent reduction in the 2020 provisional average WorkSafe NB assessment rate, down from $2.65 in 2019.
Wilson says the provincial government is working to reduce it even further.
“It was $1.11 just as recent as three years ago,” she said in an interview with Huddle after the announcement. “These are the costs that small business owners endure that stop them from creating more jobs. When the rates go crazy like that, they’re actually cutting jobs because they can’t afford to keep their staff.”
In 2020, around 91 per cent of employers will see a net decrease in the rate. The decrease will vary across industries, but most employers will see a rate drop of between 1 per cent and 25 per cent. For instance, on average, the residential and industrial construction industry will see their rates fall by 18% and supermarkets and general stores by 9 per cent.
Jean-Marc Picard, the chair of the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, said the progress is encouraging even though it’s a long way from getting back to the low rate of a few years ago.
“WorkSafe has been obviously a work in progress towards getting things more balanced, more stabilized in the province. So we’re very glad to see there’s a lot of progress being made,” Picard said. “Hopefully, it’ll keep going to $1.11, where it used to be, but we obviously know that things change. But it’s nice to know they’re evolving to the right balance.”
John Wishart, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Moncton, said this marks a “positive trend” and hopes to see the rate come down further.
“It’ll be great if the New Brunswick rate can be around the middle of the pack for Canada – a little under $2,” he said.