FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has introduced legislative amendments to enhance workplace safety and protect benefits for injured workers while providing employers with more stable compensation assessment rates.

“These changes are meant to make workplaces safer and also ensure that employees safely return to work as soon as they are able,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “This builds on legislative amendments our government introduced earlier this year: modernizing legislation to protect the rights and benefits of workers while maintaining a balance that will help make the workers’ compensation system more sustainable and affordable for employers.”

The amendments would apply to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Workers Compensation Act, and the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal Act. The changes would:

  • Clarify the obligations of employers and supervisors respecting the health and safety of workers.
  • Extend the timeframe for bringing forward prosecutions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • Amend the duty to accommodate language in workers’ compensation legislation to reinforce the employer’s obligation to return injured workers to work, unless the accommodation causes the employer undue hardship.
  • Introduce administrative penalties for Workers’ Compensation Act violations.
  • Clarify that WorkSafeNB has the discretion to determine the medical aid that may be provided to injured workers.

“We are pleased to see this legislation introduced, as the improvements are essential in building healthier and safer workplaces throughout our province,” said Mel Norton, chairperson of WorkSafeNB’s board of directors. “The legislation to enhance an employer’s duty to accommodate is also significant, as the benefits of work and keeping connected to the workplace are proven factors in the successful rehabilitation and recovery of an injured worker. Ensuring worker health and safety contributes to a healthy family life and a strong economy for the benefit of all New Brunswickers.”

WorkSafeNB is responsible for administering the related legislation and its regulations.