Premier Brian Pallister announced Tuesday the Workers Compensation Board will return close to $37 million in surplus funds to employers.
"This will keep our workers compensation structure strong, but it allows us to return money to businesses at a time when cash flow is a real challenge," Pallister said at a news conference.
In May, eligible employers will receive a credit to their account based on 20 per cent of 2019 premiums, he said.
News of the refund was warmly greeted by business.
"It’s absolutely good news," said Jonathan Alward, director of provincial affairs with the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
He said the refunds will help businesses reduce their costs.
Last May, Manitoba businesses received refunds totalling $74 million.
"This has real benefits and not just to the private sector," Pallister said.
Of the $37 million, an expected $29 million will be returned to the private sector, with approximately $7 million going to small businesses in Manitoba, the WCB said in a press release.
In the health-care sector, which includes regional health authorities, CancerCare Manitoba and Riverview Health Centre, it equates to a $6.2-million refund, Pallister said.
A news release said the WCB board of directors has approved and authorized returning the $37 million in surplus funds to employers.
Earlier this month, the WCB announced it would defer premium payments until the end of May, not charge businesses interest or penalties for non-payment until October, extend the payroll-reporting deadline until the end of May and ensure that coverage remains active for accounts that choose to defer payments until the end of October.
The WCB is a mutual workplace injury and disability statutory corporation funded by employer premiums. It insures more than 34,000 employers and 76 per cent of the Manitoba workforce.
Updated on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 7:38 PM CDT: Final version.