De­ci­sions made with best of in­ten­tions

The News (New Glasgow) - - OPINION -

To the ed­i­tor,

In his opin­ion piece “He who pays the piper….” on Oct. 6 about how the WCB Nova Sco­tia ex­er­cised its author­ity to de­lay an ap­peal and de­velop re­lated rate-set­ting pol­icy, Rus­sell Wanger­sky wrongly ac­cuses WCB of be­ing dis­hon­est in its ap­proach.

It’s im­por­tant to point out that WCB acted within its leg­isla­tive author­ity in this case. In a re­cent Nova Sco­tia Supreme Court ju­di­cial re­view de­ci­sion on the mat­ter, Jus­tice Jamie Camp­bell said the process the WCB used to set aside Ox­ford Frozen Foods’ ap­peal un­til pol­icy could be de­vel­oped, “... is an unusual process by which an on­go­ing case can be pulled out of the ad­ju­dica­tive stream while poli­cies in­tended to af­fect that case are de­vel­oped. That process, as set out in the leg­is­la­tion, is not con­tested here.”

What the court told us is that we had the author­ity, but did not ex­er­cise it the right way. The de­ci­sion calls for more trans­parency, and says the WCB should have con­sulted with Ox­ford about our in­ten­tion to de­lay the com­pany’s rate group ap­peal in or­der to ad­dress a pol­icy gap. We re­spect that. We as­pire to be an or­ga­ni­za­tion that makes de­ci­sions in a man­ner that fully con­sid­ers the im­pacts on the peo­ple we serve.

We will still need to ad­dress the un­der­ly­ing pol­icy is­sue that is at the heart of this mat­ter. The Board of Di­rec­tors’ in­ten­tion was to pro­vide pol­icy clar­ity so that the cur­rent set of rules would be fully de­fined and con­tinue to ap­ply equally to all em­ploy­ers. Rate set­ting is a core busi­ness func­tion of the Board. WCB has es­tab­lished rate groups in the same man­ner for more than 20 years. It’s a process that’s mir­rored in sev­eral Boards across the coun­try, and it helps to en­sure that the cost of work­place in­jury in­sur­ance is shared fairly and con­sis­tently across in­dus­tries and em­ploy­ers.

Con­trary to Mr. Wanger­sky’s opin­ion, I am com­fort­able that all de­ci­sions made in this case were made with the best of in­ten­tions. Based on what we learned, we will strive to make our work more trans­par­ent in the fu­ture.

Stu­art Ma­cLean

CEO WCB Nova Sco­tia

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