9 November 2019
FREDERICTON, N.B. – Forest NB and its member facilities, that represent the majority of the forest product manufacturers in the province, are gravely concerned for the sector’s competitiveness given the dramatic and unprecedented increase in workplace compensation rates being imposed in the coming year.
“An increase was expected but we were not anticipating it to be at the extreme end of the range proposed by worksafe at their August annual general meeting” stated Mike Legere executive director of the association representing forest product manufacturers.
“To have premium increases of this magnitude, 72% over 2018, 99% since 2017 and over 263% since 2016 is simply unsustainable and employees and employers should be gravely concerned,” added Legere.
The association expresses apprehension for the competitiveness of the sector which has managed over the last five years to outperform manufacturing as a whole in terms of growth in economic contribution to the province. Legere states that for the industry to continue contributing at it’s current pace to improving the provinces financial situation it must have a competitive compensation system.
“The incoming government must prioritize the stabilizing of rates and bring them back to a competitive and appropriate level with utmost urgency,” said Legere. “If this government is serious about returning fiscal stability to the province, our industry is prepared to support their efforts and rectifying the Worksafe issue should be the first order of business in the legislature. Any party that refutes this is simply content to maintain our province’s dismal financial status quo and jeopardize our injury compensation system.”
Forest NB believes that the 24,000 New Brunswickers employed in the sector need reassurance that their workplace injury compensation system is secure and wood product manufacturers need certainty that they can operate under sustainable conditions and continue to contribute to the province’s economic recovery while meeting the needs of injured workers.
Mike Legere, Executive Director