FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government today announced the members of its new workers’ compensation task force.

“Your government is committed to addressing the concerns of rising premiums for businesses and sustainable benefits for workers as it relates to workers’ compensation,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault. “This new task force will examine WorkSafeNB’s current financial situation, governing legislation and overall objectives, and the effectiveness of the workers’ compensation system. I look forward to the solutions they develop together.”

The provincial government had announced earlier this month that it would establish a task force consisting of employer and worker representatives and chaired by a neutral party from out-of-province to examine workers’ compensation.

The task force members are:

  • Chair – Dennis Browne, a lawyer with specific background in labour arbitration and administrative law.
  • WorkSafeNB Board employer representative Lucien Sonier.
  • WorkSafeNB Board worker representative James Stanley.
  • Employer representative Joel Richardson, vice-president, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
  • Employer representative Louis Philippe Gauthier, director of Provincial Affairs, Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
  • Employer representative Sherri Deveau, business partner, Human Resources Solutions Inc.
  • Worker representative Gary Ritchie, president, New Brunswick Building Trades Unions.
  • Worker representative Glenn Sullivan, president, Atlantic Provinces Professional Firefighters' Association.
  • Worker representative Heather Hogan, retired nurse.

Actions previously announced with regard to this issue include:

  • Having the auditor general conduct an independent value-for-money audit of WorkSafeNB, at the request of the province and in accordance with the Auditor General Act, to ensure they are administering programs in the most efficient manner possible.
  • Formally requesting to the board of WorkSafeNB that their rates reflect the fact that reports are pending from the task force and the auditor general.

A discussion paper will be prepared to:

  • detail the current environment;
  • facilitate discussion and seek input from stakeholders on how to address the situation and ensure the system is transparent, accountable, predictable and sustainable in the long-term; and
  • appropriately addresses the needs and realities of current and future workplaces, while also striking the right balance between compensation for injured workers and the financial interests of employers.