FREDERICTON (GNB) – The WorkSafeNB task force presented its report to the government today.

The workers’ compensation task force was announced in May 2017 to identify short-term solutions and establish a long-term plan to ensure the system is transparent, accountable, predictable and sustainable.

“The task force was entrusted with a significant undertaking,” said task force chair Dennis Browne. “This consensus report strikes the right balance among compensation for injured workers, the employers’ financial interest and the long-term sustainability of the system. The task force is unanimous in its belief that the implementation of all recommendations, without exception, will ensure the system is transparent, accountable, predictable and sustainable in the long term.”

The committee was comprised of representatives for employers, workers and the WorkSafeNB board of directors, and was led by Browne, who is a lawyer with a background in labour arbitration and administrative law. Individuals and stakeholder groups participated in public consultations that were held in six regions across the province.

The 28 recommendations in the report address rate-setting, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal, occupational health and safety, return to work, rehabilitation, benefits, governance and the three-day waiting period. They include proposed changes aimed at improving the appeals process and return-to-work programs by using best practices and models from other jurisdictions.

“Workplace safety is of the utmost importance for both employers and employees, and a sustainable, predictable workers’ compensation program is a priority of our government,” said Treasury Board President Roger Melanson. “The recommendations in this report will be used to ensure workers’ compensation is there for both employees and employers in the long term.”

Melanson spoke on behalf of Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage.

In 2016, amendments were made to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal Act aimed at enhancing the governance structure of the board of directors to ensure that experience and knowledge is maintained and passed on to new board members.

As a Crown corporation, WorkSafeNB promotes healthy and safe workplaces for New Brunswick’s workers and employers. It is also charged with overseeing the implementation and application of the Occupational Health and Safety Act; the Workers’ Compensation Act; the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission and Workers’ Compensation Appeals’ Tribunal Act; and the Firefighters’ Compensation Act.

The report is available online.