The independent task force appointed by the New Brunswick government to examine WorkSafeNB is now turning to the public for its opinion on the workers’ compensation system in the province.
The task force was announced in May, amid concerns about rising premiums for businesses.
As Global News reported at the time, business owners have seen WorkSafeNB premiums increase by 33 per cent this year.
On Thursday, the task force released a discussion paper that was completed after months of meetings with workers’ advocates, employers’ advocates and members of WorkSafeNB.
The document revealed “emerging issues,” such as the current financial environment and changes in legislation.
According to the task force, stakeholders told them changes in legislation related to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal has led to an escalation in compensable injuries “which WorkSafeNB did not anticipate.”
The document also finds there is a “disproportion of public sector claims” at the rate of 6.5 per 100 full-time workers compared to 2.56 for full-time workers in the private sector.
Other topics covered by the meetings between the task force and stakeholders included the value of the WorkSafeNB Rehabilitation Centre, encouraging injured workers to return to the workplace in modified jobs, and WorkSafeNB’s funding policy.
“WorkSafeNB funding is not designed to sustain large retroactive claims,” the document reads. “WorkSafeNB funding policy will be one focus of this Task Force.”
The task force is now putting out a call for public submissions at five upcoming meetings in November.
Members of the public reserve a 15-minute time slot at the following events:
- Grand Falls – Nov. 2, 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m.
Centre E.& P. Sénéchal Center, 60 Ouellette St.
- Fredericton – Nov. 3, 9 a.m to 3:30 p.m.
Fredericton Convention Centre, 670 Queen St.
- Bathurst – Nov. 21, 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m.
Best Western, 150 Main St.
- Moncton – Nov. 22, 9 a.m to 3:30 p.m.
Delta Beausejour, 750 Main St.
- Saint John – Nov. 23, 9 a.m to 3:30 p.m.
Delta Brunswick, 39 King St.