New Brunswick takes more action to improve workers’ compensation system

Published May 13, 2019

Building on legislation passed in December 2018, the new Progressive Conservative government of New Brunswick has introduced legislative amendments to reduce the assessment rates that employers pay for workers’ compensation while also strengthening their ability to ensure workplace safety.

The proposed amendments will address the remaining recommendations from the Task Force on WorkSafeNB, which issued its report in July 2018 — this was a key request from Restaurants Canada during the 2018 provincial election campaign.

For many years, WorkSafeNB was one of the best run workers’ compensation systems in Canada. But legislative changes made in 2015 have caused costs to soar, resulting in higher assessment rates, despite a stabilization effort that depleted the accident fund surplus.

The escalating costs have not been related to workplace safety; the number of workplace accidents has not increased, and in fact has declined by 3.5 per cent since 2001. Costs were only increasing because legislative changes led to claims lasting longer and the workers’ compensation system paying for benefits not related to workplace injuries.

What will the legislative changes mean for foodservice operators?

The amendments will:

  • Allow for greater flexibility in the delivery of workplace safety training, for instance permitting online options as well as in-house train-the-trainer programs.
  • Reduce workers’ compensation system costs by allowing for fair and reasonable income replacement and apportionment of other revenue sources (by requiring Canada Pension Plan Disability payments to be taken into account when determining the amount of compensation payable by WorkSafeNB).
  • Improve governance by enhancing the board appointment process and ensuring that the public sector fully participates in all aspects of occupational health and safety as well as return to work protocols.

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada, at lerjavec@restaurantscanada.org or 1-800-387-5649 ext. 5000.

Marlee Wasser

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