Governance – Engaging Stakeholder Technical Committees in Legislative and Regulatory Reform Policy 41-011 | Effective Date: March 29, 2018

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish and communicate the principles used by the WorkSafeNB Board of Directors to govern the appointment and operation of stakeholder technical committees to inform the legislative and regulatory reform process.

Scope

This policy applies to the WorkSafeNB Board of Directors, staff, and stakeholders participating in the legislative and regulatory reform process through a stakeholder technical committee.

Statements

1.0 General

The Board of Directors has the legal authority to govern WorkSafeNB and is specifically accountable for proposing legislation and regulations, policies, and practices to promote workers’ health, safety, and compensation.

The Board fulfills this responsibility by adhering to a disciplined governance framework that integrates principles and processes established in a series of policies including:

The Board’s Governance Statement specifically requires that it annually:

  • Evaluate WorkSafeNB’s strategic direction;
  • Assess risks facing WorkSafeNB; and
  • Allocate resources to legislative/regulatory, policy, and stakeholder engagement priorities.

Priorities that form the Board’s agenda are subject to a disciplined decision-making process established in Policy 41-004 Governance – Policy Development and Evaluation. This process includes:

  • A well-defined analysis of the problem;
  • Thorough research, including legal and literature reviews of best practices and standards;
  • Analysis from multiple perspectives, including the integration of stakeholder opinions, where appropriate; and
  • Balanced recommendations, with relevant alternatives.

Policy 41-003 Governance – Stakeholder Engagement also communicates the Board’s commitment to engaging its stakeholders and identifies a formal process for determining how stakeholders are consulted on specific issues related to legislative/regulatory amendments and policy development.

2.0 Principles for Engaging Technical Committees in Legislative and Regulatory Reform

The Board of Directors may determine that a technical committee is the most appropriate method of engaging stakeholders to inform the legislative and regulatory review process when:

  • The issues being reviewed require specific industry expertise (e.g., underground mining);
  • The issues being reviewed are technical in nature (e.g., fall protection);
  • It is anticipated that stakeholder groups may have divergent views on the issues under review; or
  • It is anticipated that to review the issues, it will take considerable time, training, collaboration, and research to form recommendations for change.

While the Board has final authority for all recommendations forwarded to the Government of New Brunswick, technical committees make a valuable contribution to informing those recommendations. Committee membership provides subject matter expertise and diverse industry representation contributing to an exchange of best practices and views. Committees also allow WorkSafeNB to understand the opportunities and challenges faced in specific industries related to the legislation and/or regulations under review.

2.1 The Board of Directors approves technical committee membership.

The Board of Directors actively seeks technical committee participation from its stakeholders. The Board uses the following formal process to identify committee members:

  • The Chair of the Board sends correspondence and the terms of reference (Appendix A) to the identified stakeholder groups, requesting nominations for representation on the committee;
  • Nominations are received by the WorkSafe Services Evaluation Committee for final approval by the Board; and
  • The Chair of the Board will send notification of the nominee’s acceptance to the stakeholder group, accompanied by a formal job description of the committee position and the expectations of the position.

In appointing members to technical committees, the Board ensures an appropriately balanced representation of stakeholder groups and technical expertise. When needed, the Board also allocates resources for appropriate committee training and research to facilitate informed recommendations by the committee.

2.2 The Board of Directors expects technical committees to evaluate best practices, applicable research, and industry standards.

Consistent with the disciplined policy development and evaluation process adopted by the Board of Directors, committee recommendations are expected to be thoroughly researched, based on best practices, and follow accepted industry and safety standards.

Technical committees evaluate recommendations relative to protecting the health and safety of all New Brunswick employees, but may also consider the need for businesses to be competitive, consistent with the Board’s Balance Goal.

2.3 Stakeholders are accountable in the regulatory recommendation process.

Individual stakeholders nominated to represent their stakeholder groups on technical committees are accountable to their respective groups or industries for the advice and recommendations they provide. Committee representatives are responsible for maintaining communication with their stakeholder groups throughout the regulatory review process.

Technical committees forward their recommendations to the Board of Directors for consideration and, at a minimum, formally document:

  • An analysis of best practices and current industry standards;
  • A comparison of the current and proposed legislation and/or regulation;
  • The rationale for the change and a discussion of the committee’s intent in proposing the change; and
  • The committee’s agreement to the recommendation through a sign-off process.

When possible, technical committees strive to provide recommendations reached by consensus. In the event that consensus cannot be reached, the chair of the technical committee (usually an employee of WorkSafeNB) documents and reports the points in contention for the Board’s consideration.

If there is no majority opinion in the committee, WorkSafeNB’s staff representatives (including the committee chair and legal representative) remain responsible for making recommendations on the legislative and/or regulatory amendments. This includes documenting and communicating:

  • The best practices, research, and industry standards evaluated by the committee;
  • The areas where consensus was not reached; and
  • The rationale for the recommendation.

2.4 The Board has the final authority to forward recommendations to the Government for regulatory change.

By legislation, the Board of Directors is responsible for recommending legislative and regulatory changes. As such, the Board has the final authority to recommend changes to the Government of New Brunswick. These changes may reflect a technical committee’s advice, in whole, in part, or not at all.

Once the Board of Directors determines the extent to which the technical committee’s advice will impact the recommendation to Government, the Board communicates its final decision and reasons for the recommendation to the technical committee members.

2.5 Technical committees are consulted on the development of an implementation plan to accompany the legislative or regulatory changes.

WorkSafeNB and stakeholders each have roles in implementing legislative and regulatory changes. In consultation with the technical committee, WorkSafeNB develops an implementation plan to accompany the committee’s recommendations.

This plan must consider:

  • The target audience(s);
  • How the proposed regulatory change impacts employees and employers;
  • How the change impacts WorkSafeNB and its allocation of resources;
  • A communication plan;
  • Any training or workshops required to bridge gaps in knowledge or skills;
  • Roles of safety associations and other stakeholders in educating their members; and
  • Discussion and recommendation of effective dates for proposal to the Government of New Brunswick.

Regulation – means a regulation, rule, order, by-law or other instrument made under the authority of an Act as defined by the Regulations Act.

Stakeholder – a person, group, or organization that has direct or indirect interest in an organization because it can affect or be affected by the organization’s actions, objectives, and policies. Primary WorkSafeNB stakeholders include workers, employers, service providers, WorkSafeNB employees, and the Government of New Brunswick.

Stakeholder engagement – an organization’s efforts to understand the concerns of stakeholders and involve them in the activities and decision-making processes of the organization so that mutual interests are aligned, risks reduced, and the organization’s performance advanced.

Technical committee – a group of stakeholders with specific expertise, appointed by the Board of Directors to examine legislation and regulations and propose changes for the Board to consider in its recommendations to Government.

WorkSafeNB – means the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission or "the Commission" as defined by the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal Act.

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