Our Financial Results
Our 2018 Financial Results reflect our efforts to build a strong, stable, and sustainable system that serves workers and employers today and in the years to come. It was a challenging year in the financial markets, but we are still on track toward long-term financial sustainability – thanks to the injury prevention and return-to-work efforts of employers and workers across Nova Scotia.
Where every dollar goes
The assessment revenue collected by WCB Nova Scotia funds the entire workers’ compensation system, including the Workers' Advisers Program (WAP), the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal (WCAT), the Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, the Office of the Employer Advisor (OEA) and the Office of the Worker Counsellor (OWC). It’s important to note that our 2018 administration costs continue to include investments we’re making to modernize our business, and replace our old claims and assessment systems.
Assessable payroll for covered employers in Nova Scotia has grown steadily. As the overall provincial payroll has grown, the rate of workplace injury has continued to decline. At the same time, claim duration was even higher in 2018. Improving our approach to safe and timely return to work will help support the positive economic momentum that Nova Scotians have worked hard to cultivate over the past several years.
Our assessment revenue for covered employers grew by 3.3 per cent in 2018 from 2017. This modest growth has allowed WCB Nova Scotia to keep pace with rising costs within the system, while still maintaining stability, reducing the unfunded liability, and modernizing WCB operations.
Careful and strategic management of funds that will pay for compensation benefits into the future has resulted in significant income gains in recent years. However, in 2018 we saw a decrease in our investment income as global markets experienced significant volatility in the fourth quarter. We are still on track toward long-term financial sustainability – thanks to the injury prevention and return-to-work efforts of employers and workers across Nova Scotia.
Claim payments, which include payments made by WCB for income replacement benefits, medical services, travel expenses and retraining, increased in 2018 due to inflation and the amount of time off work due to an injury. Over time, service improvements and a continued focus on prevention and return-to-work initiatives will contribute to the improvement of cost savings.
Assets and Liabilities
In 2018, we had a setback in the gap between liabilities and assets as our funded percentage decreased to 85.5 per cent. We are still on track toward long-term financial sustainability. As financial sustainability gets closer, we look forward to being part of discussions about the possible evolution of Nova Scotia’s workers’ compensation system.