All decisions made with the best of intentions
Dear 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 ratesetting policy, Russell Wangersky wrongly accuses WCB of being dishonest in its approach.
WCB Nova Scotia 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 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 impact 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 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.
CEO, WCB Nova Scotia