On behalf of WorkSafeNB’s board of directors, I want to thank the Government of New Brunswick for their prompt and informed action on moving the Ministerial Task Force recommendations forward by introducing a bill this afternoon in the Legislature. This Bill will ensure the sustainability of the workers’ compensation system in our province and align New Brunswick’s legislation with the rest of Canada.
Workers’ compensation has always been about maintaining the intricate balance between the needs of both workers and employers. This bill is a win-win for both groups. It will ensure that the benefits provided to injured workers will continue to be protected, and, in fact, it will improve on them by eliminating the unpaid three-day waiting period. It will also provide relief to New Brunswick employers as the rapid increases in workers’ compensation assessment rates will stabilize and should begin to decline.
By returning policy deference to WorkSafeNB’s board of directors, decisions made regarding policy can be debated, discussed and weighed with all information at hand: worker and employer perspectives, legal implications, best practices from across Canada, and costs analysis.
I want to thank the members of the Ministerial Task Force, which included both worker and employer representatives, for their diligence on what we believe to be a fair and constructive report. WorkSafeNB is steadfast in our commitment to working jointly with Government to implement all 28 recommendations. While the priority items are being addressed in this new Bill, additional legislative amendments will be required to fully implement the recommendations along with changes in WorkSafeNB policies and practices, and an updated Memorandum of Understanding between WorkSafeNB and the Department.
WorkSafeNB is dedicated to continuous improvement of its processes and services, and the full implementation of the Task Force recommendations are a key piece of the roadmap that will support us in this endeavor.
In closing I’d like to thank all our stakeholders for their active participation in the consultation that led to the recommendations and thank the Government once again for acting on behalf of the interests of New Brunswick’s workers and employers.
Acting Chairperson, WorkSafeNB