By Workers Compensation Board of PEI
The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of PEI announces the implementation of the most significant benefit enhancement package for injured workers in the last decade, while continuing to maintain reasonable costs for Island employers.
Amendments to the Workers Compensation Act were unanimously passed during the fall 2022 sitting of the legislature, providing for a suite of incremental enhancements to worker benefits. The first set of enhancements are now in effect, raising the compensation rate for wage loss benefits from 85% to 90% of net earnings and increasing financial supports for workplace fatalities.
“These enhancements will reduce the financial impact of injuries and fatalities and assist injured workers with the rising cost of living,” said Jim MacPhee, Chair of the WCB. “On behalf of the WCB Board of Directors, I wish to thank our stakeholders, partners, and WCB staff for their collaborative efforts to continuously improve benefits for workers while balancing sustainability of the compensation system for employers.”
The WCB conducted financial analyses to determine the impact of the proposed changes and led public consultations on the enhancements. The results confirmed that proposed legislative amendments struck a good balance between meaningful enhancements for injured workers and their families while maintaining cost stability for employers. The WCB announced reduced employer rates and a $22 million surplus distribution to employers in November 2022.
The next enhancement for workers will come into effect in July 2023, with an increase to the cap on long term benefit cost of living adjustments. This will be followed in 2024 with an adjustment to the calculation method for maximum annual earnings to keep pace with PEI wage growth.
The updated legislation and regulations are available on the WCB website at wcb.pe.ca/Information/ActsAndRegulations
The maximum annual earnings, commonly referred to as MAE, is the maximum amount of earnings an employer would pay premiums on per worker. It is also the maximum amount for calculating workers compensation benefits. On November 7, 2022, the WCB announced that the MAE would be set at $65,000 for 2023.
The suite of benefit enhancements associated with the recent amendments to the Workers Compensation Act and General Regulations are as follows:
- An increase to the lump sum death benefit for a workplace fatality, from 40% to 100% of the MAE, effective December 1, 2022.
- An increase of the financial support for burial expenses, from $7,500 to $15,000, effective December 24, 2022.
- An increase to the workers compensation rate, from 85% to 90% of net earnings wage loss benefit payments, effective January 1, 2023.
- An increase to the cap on cost of living adjustments for long term benefits, from 4% to 6% based on changes to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), effective July 1, 2023.
- The replacement of the calculation method of the MAE to keep pace with PEI wage growth, effective January 1, 2024.