Government appoints temporary staff to reduce wait times for WCB appeal hearings
The province has appointed 20 new temporary staffers to help reduce wait times for appeals of Workers Compensation Board decisions due to a record number of appeals that have been filed this year.
A total of 40 hearings have been scheduled with the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal. That’s the highest number of appeals held in a single year in the last decade.
This has resulted in prolonged wait times for injured workers who have filed appeals of claim decisions by the Workers Compensation Board (WCB).
To alleviate this backlog, the office of the worker adviser – which is part of the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning’s labour and industrial relations division – has added temporary resources to process files faster.
If an injured worker is not satisfied with a decision of the WCB, he or she can get advice and information from the worker advisor and, if necessary, the worker advisor can represent an injured worker’s appeal to the appeal tribunal.
Representatives from the WCB are scheduled to provide a briefing on issues related to the Workers Compensation board to the Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment today.
“With these additional resources, the office of the worker adviser and appeals tribunal will be able to support a record number of hearings this year,” said Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant.
“More than 20 hearings have been held since January and another 12 are currently scheduled – and the tribunal anticipates surpassing 40 hearings by December. We anticipate wait lists will be reduced significantly by early next year.”
Lawyer Brian Waddell will lead this work over the next few months and present worker appeals at hearings throughout the fall.
Nine additional vice-chairs have been appointed to the appeals tribunal for a total of 12 members who can lead tri-partite appeal panels. In addition, there are five new employer representatives and five new worker representatives to assist the tribunals, for a total of 20 worker and employer representatives. These additional appointees will share the workload so hearings happen more often and are processed faster.
“Our staff are happy to assist all workers with their concerns,” said labour and industrial relations director Constance Robinson.
“We are helping to ensure all workers feel supported throughout the process and that appeals happen as quickly as possible.”