Contractors may be eligible for WCB assessment rebates

Some silvicultural contractors may (emphasize may) be eligible for a WCB assessment rebate according to the Board¹s President Ralph McGinn.

Some silvicultural contractors may (emphasize may) be eligible for a WCB assessment rebate according to the Board¹s President Ralph McGinn. In a letter sent last December to businesses qualifying for the rebate McGinn said the rebates resulted from a new WCB insurance program introduced in 2000. Employers who were part of insurance pools with a surplus on December 31, 1999 will receive a rebate on their assessment.

McGinn¹s letter did not go into detail as to which insurance pools were affected or the actuarial mechanics that established the rebates and employer eligibility. Nor was their information on which industries or specific subclasses were affected or the total value of the rebate program.

Nevertheless, he did explain that normally surplus funds serve to decrease base assessment rates over a five year period. “Because we overhauled our employer insurance pools we then introduced the new classification structure this year, surplus funds from the previous system could not be used in this manner. We consulted at length with industry and employer representatives and agreed to rebate employers who contributed to these surpluses, and, at the same time, forgive employers with deficits in the remaining insurance pools,” McGinn said.

At this point the WSCA is making enquiries regarding the specifics of the rebate, whether all businesses have been notified and which insurance pools are affected. At least one silviculture contractor notified of the rebate commented that the amount involved was sizeable; in his case in the tens of thousands of dollars.

McGinn said that according to a resolution from the WCB Panel of Administrators, which was based on consultations with stakeholders, employers who are eligible for a rebate greater than $2,000 will receive their rebate amortized over a five-year period, along with interest equal to the rate earned by the subclass surplus. The resolution further states than an employer¹s total annual assessment will not be abated by more than 50 percent in any given year. As a result, the number of years it will take for employers to receive their entire rebate will vary from one business to another.

Eligible businesses will be receiving more information this month the letter promised. In the meantime the WCB website WorkSafe Online at www.worksafebc.com contains information about employer rebates and surplus funds.