Clear­ing the back­log

MLAs hear Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Board ap­peals should be dealt with by spring

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY RYAN ROSS Ryan.Ross@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/ryan­r­ross

A back­log of Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Board claims be­ing ap­pealed should be cleared up by the spring, MLAs heard Thurs­day dur­ing a com­mu­ni­ties, land and en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee meet­ing.

Con­stance Robin­son, di­rec­tor of labour and in­dus­trial re­la­tions, told the MLAs that once the back­log is cleared there should be a steady stream of Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Ap­peal Tri­bunal de­ci­sions equal to the num­ber of files com­ing in.

“That’s my said.

Ear­lier this week, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment an­nounced it had ap­pointed 20 new tem­po­rary staffers to help re­duce the wait times for ap­peals.

This year 40 hear­ings have been sched­uled with the ap­peal tri­bunal, which is the high­est num­ber for a sin­gle year in the last decade.

Work­ers who dis­agree with Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Board de­ci­sions first ask for an in­ter­nal re­con­sid­er­a­tion.

If the board re­jects the claim af­ter that ap­peal, the worker can then es­ca­late it to the Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Ap­peal Tri­bunal.

That de­ci­sion is given within 90 days of the ap­peal hear­ing.

Robin­son said there are a lot of fac­tors that go into the process from an ap­peal be­ing vi­sion,” she filed to the end.

“We do not have con­trol over the num­ber of files that go in ev­ery year,” she said.

The num­ber of files has varied over the last 10 years from a low of 16 in one year to a high of 53 in 2016, Robin­son said.

“The last three years been trend­ing up­wards.” it’s

Robin­son said if ev­ery­thing is work­ing per­fectly it takes about seven months to file an ap­peal, make sub­mis­sions, sched­ule a hear­ing, have the hear­ing and get a de­ci­sion.

“In that time new files are com­ing in the pipe­line,” she said.

She also said over the next few months she will be go­ing over the data to fig­ure out what re­sources are needed on an on­go­ing ba­sis.

“By next spring we’ll know what we need to main­tain our stay state so we don’t start slip­ping back into hav­ing cases car­ried over from one year to the next.”

RYAN ROSS/THE GUARDIAN

Con­stance Robin­son, di­rec­tor of labour and in­dus­trial re­la­tions, joins sev­eral other pre­sen­ters at a com­mu­ni­ties, land and en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee meet­ing Thurs­day in Char­lot­te­town to dis­cuss a back­log in Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Ap­peal Tri­bunal hear­ings.

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