Big year for WCB
1996 NWT Work Numbers

Average weekly earnings $720
Number of registered employers 2,892
Assessable payroll $925 million
Time loss claims 977
Fatalities 4

Source: WCB newsletter Directions, July 1997

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 11/97) - Excellent investment performance and a reduction in the number of claims for death and injury in 1996 resulted in a banner year for the NWT Workers' Compensation Board.

Though the Board's annual report for 1996 will not be made public until it is tabled in the legislature in October, some figures were published in a press release issued today and in the board's weekly newsletter.

"We were hopeful, given the performance of the WCB over the last five years, that this year would have been a good year as well," said Richard Bargery, executive assistant to John Todd, minister responsible for the board.

Unexpectedly good investment performance the last two years have resulted in the board's improved financial situation.

According to a WCB press release, the board realized a market rate of return of 18.9 per cent last year, slightly down from the 19.8 per cent it made the year before.

In setting the rate it charges employers, a rate that was on average reduced by 10 per cent last year, the WCB must estimate the amount of revenue it will make on its investments. Gains made last year were largely due to the fact that investments produces revenues that exceeded these estimates.

In all, the board collected $23 million from employers and paid out $25.6 million in benefits. Investment revenue of almost $15 million more than made up the shortfall.

Since 1993, the NWT compensation board has been one of a few boards in Canada to have revenues exceed payouts.