November 12, 2018 1:30 pm

Cities of New Brunswick calls WorkSafeNB rate increase ‘staggering’

Doug Jones, president and CEO of WorkSafeNB explains the reasoning behind a big spike in New Brunswick employer assessment rates for 2019.

Andrew Cromwell/Global News

An organization representing eight of the largest municipalities in New Brunswick has slammed the recently announced rate increase for WorkSafeNB premiums.

The Cities of New Brunswick Association says the increase — which saw premiums jump from $1.70 per $100 of payroll in 2018 to $2.92 per $100 of payroll in 2019, is “staggering.”

It’s the third year in a row that WorkSafeNB has increased its rate.

“The proposed year-over-year WorkSafeNB premium adjustments are staggering in terms of both percentage increase and overall financial impacts,” the organization wrote in a press release on Monday.

WATCH: Employers to take big hit as WorkSafe NB increases compensation premiums

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Cities of New Brunswick says for cities like Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton, the rate increase will hit them with a sudden $1-million cost next year.

“Our ability to absorb these year-over-year increases will be difficult without directly impacting municipal operations and citizen services, particularly given the magnitude of the year-over-year increase,” says Adam Lordon, president of Cities of New Brunswick and mayor of Miramichi.

The organization says that there is an “urgent” need to find the right balance between compensation for injured workers and employers’ financial interests.

The group is urging the new Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Blaine Higgs to deal with WorkSafeNB as well as the public and private sectors to address the issue, stating that they want the ability to increase their primary source of revenue — property taxes.

READ MORE: Concerns among employers growing as WorkSafeNB rates continue to climb

The organization laid out that demand before September’s provincial election, saying that under the current tax system, city taxpayers are “paying more than their fair share” for services delivered in their region and that provincial tax breaks for industrial companies have reduced municipal revenue.

The Cities of New Brunswick Association is composed of Bathurst, Campbellton, Dieppe, Edmundston, Fredericton, Miramichi, Moncton and Saint John.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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