Discounted Assessment Rate Continues to Address Workers’ Compensation Surplus


November 5, 2019

St. John’s, NL – Effective January 1, 2020, WorkplaceNL will leave the temporary $0.21 discount in place, maintaining the average assessment rate paid by employers at $1.69 per $100 of payroll.

The temporary discount is to reduce the surplus in the employer-funded Injury Fund over a number of years. Approximately $16 million of the surplus will be used to pay for a portion of the cost of workplace injuries. This is consistent with WorkplaceNL’s Funding Policy. The Injury Fund was 119.5 per cent funded at the end of 2018, above its target of 110 per cent.

As well, the Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings (MCAE) will increase by 2.1 per cent to $66,980, the highest in Atlantic Canada. This reflects the annual Consumer Price Index adjustment. Wage-loss benefits for injured workers submitting a new claim whose pre-injury earnings are at or above $66,980 will be calculated using this new limit starting January 1, 2020.

“Positive trends in safety performance in workplaces across the province are contributing factors in maintaining the average assessment rate paid by employers,” said the Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh, Minister Responsible for WorkplaceNL. “These changes reflect a balanced approach by considering the needs of both injured workers and employers, while also being financially responsible with the injury fund.”

“The assessment rate remains stable for 2020, at the lowest in over 35 years, to lower the surplus in the Injury Fund” said Dennis Hogan, CEO, WorkplaceNL. “I look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to maintain a financially sustainable workers’ health, safety and compensation system.”

The complete Classification of Industries and Assessment Rates – 2020 is available via

Notices of assessment rates for employers will be online next week. WorkplaceNL is moving to mandatory online services for employers as of December 31, 2019.

Employers who have not yet done so are encouraged to register for a connect (online services) account.

More information is available in the Backgrounder below.

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Related Links

Classification of Industries and Assessment Rates – 2020

About WorkplaceNL

Serving approximately 13,000 injured workers and 18,500 employers, WorkplaceNL administers an employer-funded, no fault insurance system that promotes safe and healthy workplaces, provides return-to-work programs and offers fair compensation to injured workers and their dependents.

Media Contact

Carla Riggs, Director of Communications

t 709.778.1590 or


Discounted Assessment Rate

  • The temporary $0.21 discount is in place to reduce the surplus in the Injury Fund.
  • This will be the second consecutive year for the temporary discount.
  • The average base rate remains at $1.90 per $100 of assessable payroll.
  • With the $0.21 discount, the average assessment rate will remain at $1.69 for 2020.
  • All expected costs of the workers’ compensation system, including recent benefits changes, have been included, such as:
    • increase to the income replacement rate from 80 to 85 per cent of an injured worker’s pre-injury net (before) tax income
    • new retirement benefits
    • increase in burial expense coverage from $5,000 to $10,000
    • presumptive coverage for work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • WorkplaceNL will monitor trends in costs related to these benefit changes, in light of recent increases in claims and claims costs.
  • Assessment rates are paid by employers to cover expected costs of workplace injuries, return-to-work programs, prevention initiatives and administration of the workers’ compensation system.
  • With WorkplaceNL’s PRIME program, employers can lower their assessment rates by meeting occupational health and safety practice requirements and manage claims costs through effective early and safe return to work programs.

Injury Fund

  • The Injury Fund was 119.5 per cent funded as of December 31, 2018.
  • The funded position fell from 131.6 per cent funded in 2017 due to increased benefits for injured workers and a decline in financial markets late in 2018.
  • The targeted funded position is 110 per cent.


  • In 2020, approximately 59 per cent of employers will see their assessment rate decrease or stay the same; 41 per cent will see their assessment rate increase.
  • The average assessment rates in 13 sectors is decreasing or staying the same, and increasing in five sectors.
  • The lost-time incidence rate is 1.6 per 100 workers, and has remained relatively stable at 1.5 or 1.6 for the past five years.
  • A positive trend in safety performance contributed to the 23 per cent reduction in assessment rates over five years (2016-2020).


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