The New Brunswick government has introduced legislative amendments that they say will ensure the sustainability of WorkSafeNB.
The amendments will address the 28 recommendations from the Report of the Task Force on WorkSafeNB, which sought to address the skyrocketing compensation rates in the province.
The 2019 assessment rate was the third increase in a row, with the average rate being $2.92 per $100 of payroll, up from $1.70 in 2018.
That would have put New Brunswick at the highest compensation premiums in Canada.
“Our government recognizes the need to make changes that will allow for the long-term sustainability of our worker’s compensation system,” said Trevor Holder, minister of post-secondary education, training and labour.
“We fully support the recommendations of the task force and are taking swift action to implement them.”
Holder said amendments are being made to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal Act, the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Firefighters’ Compensation Act in order to implement the changes.
The government says they’re focused on restoring policy deference to WorkSafeNB’s board of directors, clearly establishing that the intent of the workers’ compensation system is to compensate for only work-related injuries and eliminating the unpaid three-day waiting period for injured workers.
“Eliminating the unpaid wait period will provide wage loss benefits to all workers from the day following an accident, which will have a direct impact on the most vulnerable injured workers,” said Holder.
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Haley Flaro, acting chairperson of WorkSafeNB, welcomed the announcement in a press release.
“Workers’ compensation has always been about maintaining the balance between the needs of both workers and employers and this bill is a win-win for both groups,” Flaro said.