Following up on the Minister’s April announcement of a review in response to public criticism of its workers compensation system, the New Brunswick government recently released a discussion paper and details of a three-year (2013-2016) multi-stage legislative review, the first in 20 years. The review will examine:
- the status and viability of recommendations made in previous reviews
- the governance of WorkSafeNB and the Appeals Tribunal
- the claims and appeals processes
- dispute resolution
- benefit payments and practices
- the relationship between legislation and WorkSafeNB policy
In Newfoundland and Labrador the statutory review of the workers’ compensation system concluded its public consultations in April, but has yet to report.
The CUPE submission (Mar. 2013) emphasizes that a statement of basic principles, such as the Stanhope Manifesto which is consistent with the Meredith Principles, should form the basis for any Newfoundland Labrador changes. The Federation of Labour submission (April 2013) “Restoring fairness to NL’s workers’ compensation system finds the proposed benefits ceiling erodes Meredith’s no-fault cornerstone. The Federation also states their firm view that the experience rating system marks a departure from the historic compromise and “has eroded our system of workers’ compensation, not just in NL, but across the country”.
An August Supreme Court decision affirmed the historic compromise in a Newfoundland workplace death case (Marine Services International Ltd v Ryan Estate) in which two fishermen drowned when their ship capsized. The Court determined that as they were covered under workers’ compensation legislation their estate could not sue for negligence the company nor its employee who had designed and built the vessel.