WorkSafeNB has reached an agreement with the Government of New Brunswick regarding a pending sale of the Workers’ Rehabilitation Centre (WRC) on Westfield Road in Saint John. A portion of the savings from operational costs will be allocated towards enhancing efforts to prevent workplace accidents in New Brunswick.
The facility has largely remained vacant since March 2020, when the onset of COVID-19 forced WorkSafeNB to halt its rehabilitation services provided at the facility. During this period, WorkSafeNB developed a new service delivery model to ensure the continuous delivery of rehabilitation services to injured workers who traditionally sought treatment at the WRC.
This innovative model better enables WorkSafeNB clients to either remain at work during recovery or safely return to work sooner. It offers clients the rehabilitation care they require closer to home, near their families and support networks - networks so critical to healing and positive return-to-work outcomes. With strong results and following comprehensive stakeholder consultation, WorkSafeNB adopted this service model permanently in June 2023.
“The WRC will always remain an important part of our history. For more than 45 years, we helped thousands of workers get better and return to work after a workplace injury,” said Tim Petersen, WorkSafeNB’s president and CEO. “But health care has evolved, and expectations have changed, and we’ve found that the care closer to home initiative is best for our clients.”
This service delivery model better supports the overall well-being of clients and facilitates a smooth transition back to work, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more productive workforce.
“With improved technology and increased accessibility to providers, WorkSafeNB can better serve workers within their communities. It’s all part of our focus on putting people first and adjusting to our clients’ changing needs,” Petersen said.
WorkSafeNB began providing rehabilitative services to New Brunswick’s workers in 1946 (originally as Workmen’s Compensation Board – WCB) out of the Ridgewood facility in South Bay. In 1977, the current WRC building was established as an in-patient facility for New Brunswick’s injured workers.
At the time, the WRC was a trailblazer, providing unique multi-disciplinary rehabilitation services, including prosthetics and orthotics. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation services were not accessible anywhere else in the province − independent physiotherapy and occupational therapy and private health care providers were not as readily available as they are today.