The Government of New Brunswick has introduced legislative amendments that address the recommendations from the Report of the Task Force on WorkSafeNB. The amendments are designed to ensure that benefits for injured workers are protected while offering financial stability for the province’s employers.
The amendments will also better align New Brunswick’s workers’ compensation program with those in the rest of Canada.
“Our government recognizes the need to make changes that will allow for the long-term sustainability of our worker’s compensation system,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “We fully support the recommendations of the task force and are taking swift action to implement them.”
Among the changes is the elimination of 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.
The changes also address the recovery of the accident fund deficit to mitigate the risk of significant increases to the assessment rates, while still protecting the benefits for injured workers.
“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,” said Haley Flaro, WorkSafeNB’s acting chairperson. “It will protect benefits for workers while also providing relief to employers as the rapid increases in workers’ compensation assessment rates will stabilize and should begin to decline.”
The Report of the Task Force on WorkSafeNB included 28 recommendations to address a number of issues within WorkSafeNB, including but not limited to rate-setting, benefits, rehabilitation, as well as improvements to the appeals process and return-to-work programs.