Ap­peal back­log

Gov­ern­ment ap­points tem­po­rary staff to re­duce wait times for WCB ap­peal hear­ings

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

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.”

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