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How we set industry base premium rates

Our rate making system ensures the rates we set are based on the costs of compensation, so that rates are fair and reflect industries’ commitment to workplace health and safety. We classify similar employers into large enough groups to allow us to deliver more stable rates. Here’s our process for determining those rates.

Support for employers impacted by COVID-19

WorkSafeBC recognizes the challenges faced by employers during the COVID-19 pandemic and is making adjustments to support those who are impacted. These adjustments include:

Deferring quarterly payments: We are deferring quarterly premium payments for an additional quarter. Employers who report payroll and make payments on a quarterly basis can defer their Q1 and Q2 payments without penalty until October 20, 2020. Learn more.

Postponing release of 2021 preliminary rates: We are postponing the release of our 2021 preliminary rates – and the associated rate consultation sessions – from July until this fall. Learn more.

Waiving premiums for furloughed workers: We are also waiving premiums for employers who are approved to receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for furloughed workers (employees on leave with full or partial pay). Learn more.

1. Classification units and industry groups

When you register for WorkSafeBC insurance, you are assigned to a classification unit based on the products you produce, the services you provide, and the processes, technology, or materials you use.

Some classification units aren’t big enough for us to predict claim costs, so we combine them with classification units of similar types of industries to form an industry group (for example, berry farms, vineyard and wineries). Some classification units are large enough to form their own industry group. There are about 230 industry groups.

We determine the historical cost rate for each industry group by looking at the ratio of their claims costs to their payroll.

2. Industry groups are combined into rate groups

Next, we combine industry groups into rate groups. Some industry groups are large enough to form their own rate groups, but those that are not large enough are combined with other industry groups that have a similar claim cost profile. These rate groups sometimes include industries that don’t look like they have much in common, but because they share the same claim cost profile, stable rates can be set for each group.

There are about 50 rate groups. Approximately 30 of these rate groups consist of a single industry group. The other 20 rate groups are organized into one of the following rate group bands that corresponds to their claims cost rates:

Rate Group Band Claims
Cost Rate Range
20 Above 6.00
19 4.75 - 6.00
18 4.00 - 4.75
17 3.50 - 4.00
16 3.00 - 3.50
15 2.55 - 3.00
14 2.15 - 2.55
13 1.85 - 2.15
12 1.55 - 1.85
11 1.35 - 1.55
10 1.15 - 1.35
09 0.95 - 1.15
08 0.80 - 0.95
07 0.65 - 0.80
06 0.55 - 0.65
05 0.45 - 0.55
04 0.35 - 0.45
03 0.25 - 0.35
02 0.15 - 0.25
01 up to 0.15

We monitor rate group membership every year to ensure your industry group’s claim cost profile continues to match the profile of its rate group. If your industry group’s cost rate is an outlier in its rate group for three years in a row, we’ll move it to a more appropriate rate group. This is intended to limit subsidization of other industries, maintain relatively stable base premium rates, and ensure adequate funding for future costs of current claims. To learn more, find your classification unit, industry, or rate.

3. Base premium rates are calculated for each rate group

Finally, we calculate the appropriate base premium rate for each rate group. First, we calculate the total cost of claims for each rate group, then we divide that by the rate group's assessable payroll to determine the cost rate. We also take into account what WorkSafeBC's investment returns are, and how much it will cost us to uphold our prevention, compensation, and service delivery mandates.

The base premium rate is applied to each classification unit in the rate group. Employers in each rate group pay the costs of injuries, diseases, and prevention activities for the group. As costs change, so do rates. Each year, some rates go up, some go down, and some stay the same.