OHS Insider Month in Review – October 2017: Nova Scotia

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LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Injury Rates
Sept. 29: The WCB published injury data for the first quarter of 2017. The good news is that the time-loss injury rate is down and that retail food/beverage, utilities, manufacturing and wholesale showed improvements; the bad news is that claim numbers, costs and duration are up:

Metric 2017 first quarter 2016 first quarter
Time-loss injury rate 1.73 per 100 workers 1.74 per 100 workers
Total claims 5,665 5,628
Costs of paid claims $65.9 million $65.3 million
Total time-loss claims 1,342 1,427
Composite claim duration 113 days 109 days

 

Workers’ Compensation
Jan. Average 2018 premiums will stay at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll with only 41% of employers getting rate hikes.
Key Industries/Sectors Getting WCB Rate Changes in 2018

Industry 2018 Rate

(per $100 payroll)

2017 Rate

(per $100 payroll)

Change
Long-term care $5.87 $5.50 +7%
Home care $8.05 $7.24 +11%
Farming (including Xmas trees) $2.47 $3.09 -20%
Fish & seafood, wholesale $1.92 $2.40 -20%
Commercial construction $2.84 $3.46 -18%
Commercial fishing $4.92 $5.46 -10%
Hardware & machinery, wholesale $1.73 $1.40 +24%
Property management $1.73 $1.40 +24%
Dry bulk materials trucking $3.38 $2.78 +22%
Clothing & textile manufacture $4.95 $4.13 +20%
Sawmills $6.26 $5.22 +20%
Residential construction $7.32 $6.67 +10%


Post-Traumatic Stress
Sept. 25: The government proposed a bill doing the same thing that a few other provinces have already done: establish the presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder is work-related for purposes of workers’ comp when the worker is an emergency responder, including police, paramedics, firefighters (paid and volunteer), 911 and emergency dispatch, nurses, correctional officers and continuing care assistants.

Cyberbullying
Oct. 5: Nova Scotia was the first province to ban cyberbullying. But in 2015, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court struck down the Cyber-Safety Act for violating free speech. But now the government has proposed new legislation that would enable victims (or their parents) of malicious and deliberately harmful online postings, including intimate images posted without consent, to:

  • Sue for damages
  • Ask for a protective order directing the alleged offenders to stop, take down a webpage or refrain from further contact with the victim
  • Ask a government CyberSCAN unit to resolve the dispute.

Drugs & Alcohol
Oct.: To battle the deadly opioid epidemic, the government is allowing 240 community pharmacies across the province to provide life-saving naloxone kits to opioid prescribers anonymously and free of charge. Pharmacists will also provide free training in how to use naloxone in case of an overdose.

Climate Change
Sept. 29: Newly proposed changes to the Environment Act would give Nova Scotia authority to develop its own cap and trade program, including the power to:

  • Set emissions caps
  • Distribute and regulate the trading of emissions allowances
  • Require companies to monitor and report emissions information
  • Set greenhouse gas targets and penalties for violations.