BREAKING NEWS from CEO, George Marshall:

The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) recently released its 2018 Annual Report and it contains some very concerning trends.  Injury rates are on the rise slightly from 2017, but perhaps what is more concerning is a steep increase in claims costs.  Claims costs have gone from $230.2 million in 2017 to $278.2 million in 2018, or approximately 21%.

What is causing this increase?

There can be no question that 2018 was a bad year for Saskatchewan with regards to serious and specifically traumatic injuries, including fatalities.  Changes to WCB legislation regarding psychological health and safety have already brought steep increases in the number of claims and a sharp increase in costs associated with those claims.  Both factors are clear drivers of the increase in costs, but some of the explanation hits very close to home and is industry related.

The Community Services Sector (specifically WCB industry sub code S2104 – “Aid societies, rehabilitation services, social services home support services, community service, independent living programs and counselling services”) has been experiencing a rapid deterioration of workplace health and safety standards and perhaps commitment over the last five years. 

Based on WCB data from 2014 to 2018:

  • S2104 industry payroll increased 38% – this increase was mostly attributable to increases in wages and WCB’s maximum assessable wage during these five years, and not necessarily due to a significant increase in staffing levels

  • S2104 “no time loss” claims increased by 49%

  • S2104 “time loss” claims increased by 93%

  • S2104 total claims costs increased by 182%

The 182% increase in total claims costs means an increase from about $600,000 per year in 2014 to over $1.7 million per year in 2018.  These are direct costs.  The indirect costs associated would increase that figure significantly but are difficult to quantify.  It should be noted that these figures are not attributable to either traumatic fatalities or psychological injuries or illnesses at this time.  Unfortunately, this industry is a prime candidate for significant increases in psychological injuries and illnesses, in part due to the nature of the vital work they perform.

I have always been a believer that there is actually a good time to panic.  Now is the time!


Industry leaders in the community services sector need to get together with the government to work on solutions for their health and safety crisis.  The payoff, in addition to the elimination of significant human suffering and operational complications associated with workplace injuries, is well in excess of $2 million in funding that can go to programs and services that change lives in this province as opposed to workers’ compensation premiums and surcharges.

– George Marshall, CEO of Service Hospitality 




Service Hospitality has begun a process to bring industry leaders together to start implementing solutions.  If you wish to be part of the conversation, please contact me at [email protected].

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