Now, more than ever, Nova Scotian employers that continue to focus on developing successful occupational health and safety prevention, and return-to-work programs are seeing reduced WCB premium costs. That’s a fact. Injury trends in Nova Scotia are moving in the right direction. This year through the combined efforts of workers, employers and safety partners, we’re seeing fewer claims and fewer workers requiring long-term benefits. Return-to-work programs are thriving, with employers accommodating workers with transitional duties allowing workers the time to heal, without having to leave their workplace. This is all part of a vibrant safety culture; one that is growing in this province and helping move us toward our goal of being the safest place to work in Canada. Yes, injuries are declining, but workplace fatalities remain an area of concern. This year has been especially tragic and there are persistent safety issues in some industries that need more focus. Yet, I remain encouraged by the level of leadership and commitment to health and safety that is emerging, especially in the fishing sector. Most recently, I was at the Wedgeport Tuna Festival to promote the use of personal floatation devices and was overwhelmed by the number of fishermen who pledged to work safely and wear a PFD. You see, both employers and employees have a part to play in making Nova Scotia workplaces healthier, but it’s the employers that are in an incredible position of influence when it comes to workplace safety and creating return-to-work opportunities. Employers, captains, managers, foremen and supervisors can and must show leadership to make health and safety a commitment in their workplaces. Today, we released the 2014 WCB assessment rates, and of the 18,800 employers covered by the WCB, 56.5 per cent will see their rate go down or stay the same and 43.5 per cent will see an increase. The rates are relatively stable for 2014, with the average rate holding steady at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll. The average rate is determined by the current and future costs of workers’ compensation – including the unfunded liability. So while injuries are declining, the average rate is being maintained at a level that supports Nova Scotia’s workplace safety system, and will allow us to retire the unfunded liability in about ten years. For more detail on how WCB rates are set, along with the 2014 list of surcharged employers visit: www.wcb.ns.ca .