The Workers' Compensation
Act - Committee of Review (2011)
Not to be confused with the farce-of-a-review conducted in
2009 (see Service Review below), the Saskatchewan government has announced that “The Workers' Compensation Act - Committee
of Review” (COR) is slated for early 2011.
Under section 162 of the Act, this review process is required
by law every 4 years. The purpose of the COR is to make recommendations on improvements or reform to the compensation system. The
process allows injured workers to voice their concerns, recommend changes, or share personal experiences. While these submissions
are an important part of the review process, unfortunately the COR cannot make changes to individual WCB claims.
It should be noted the government is late organising this
review – it should have already occurred last fall. Ultimately Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for WCB is to blame
for this, as he’s responsible for upholding section 162. It’s important to note that Morgan is also the Minister
of Justice/Attorney General, responsible for upholding all provincial statutes – one clearly has to wonder if he’s
this lax with other laws.
It’s also been announced that the 2011 COR will be chaired
by Dr. Roslyn Kunin, a former chair and long-serving board member of WorkSafe BC (one of the more disreputable compensation
boards in Canada) – who better to hear concerns from Saskatchewan injured workers than someone skilled in ignoring those
of BC, right?
Despite the above, I urge those mistreated by WCB to voice
your concerns with this committee. Submissions can either be made in writing, or in person at various hearings around the
province. If you plan to attend, take note that the media routinely attend this function - this could also draw attention
to your concerns. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet other injured workers with whom to consult, share information,
I also urge individuals to contact the Minister Responsible
for WCB and protest the appointment of Dr. Kunin as COR Chair. Clearly the head of this committee should have no connection
whatsoever with WCB, past or present – this is the only means of ensuring an impartial review. Those who agree should
contact the minister at: firstname.lastname@example.org – be sure to include your full name and street address as responses are sent by regular mail only.
By news release Jan. 17, 2012 (below) the government announced it's purportedly seeking feedback
from the public regarding recommendations made in COR's report. Individuals and organizations have until March 5th to
provide such feedback.
“WCB Claims Administration and Service Review” (2009)
Among its many pre-election promises the SaskParty indicated it would:“Review
the Workers’ Compensation Board with a view to creating greater efficiency and fairness in the Board’s operation.”
At a glance, the news release below would suggest it’s fulfilling that promise. A closer look however reveals otherwise.
The SaskParty is by no means conducting such a review. Instead, it has advised the Board at
WCB to organize this. The Board is to find a qualified research agency or consulting firm to conduct this review, and report
their findings directly to the Board, not government. To suggest an agency or firm hand-picked by the Board will conduct
anything remotely resembling a fair, or impartial review is laughable.
To injured workers abused by WCB, and ignored by its Minister, this farce only serves to add
insult to our injuries. Moreover, it’s another classic example of this government’s “Broken Promises & Cover-ups”.
The service provided by Saskatchewan's Workers' Compensation Board will be reviewed by an
external organization, says the minister in charge of the board.
"This WCB service review is intended to ensure that Saskatchewan people are receiving the
best possible service with respect to claims administration, employer services and injury prevention," said Rob Norris, minister
responsible for the Workers' Compensation Board.
In a new release issued by the government, Norris pointed out that during the last election
campaign, the Saskatchewan Party promised such a review.
The compensation board will issue a request for proposals in seeking a qualified research
agency or consulting firm to conduct the review. The review and a final report are to be submitted to the board by Sept. 21.
As indicated above, the WCB Service Review was announced March 21st, 2009, with a final report expected by September 21st. It was not until late July however when organizations such
as The Saskatchewan Federation
of Labour (SFL) were invited to participate.
As indicated in a July 24thletter from Deloitte – the firm conducting this review – the SFL
was given only 15 business days to consult its 37 affiliated organizations, and provide an overall response to the service
review questionnaire. Of significance the SFL represents a workforce of nearly 100,000 unionized workers,
spread among some 500 locals.
To the best of my knowledge neither Deloitte
nor the Board invited injured workers to participate in this review. I can however confirm that the province’s only
injured worker organization, the Western Injured Workers Society of Saskatchewan, was not invited.
Through the good graces of the SFL however, myself
and another injured worker/advocate were given an opportunity to review and respond to the service review questionnaire. Moreover
they graciously included our response with their own. Although I question whether our input was actually considered by Deloitte,
I nevertheless thank the SFL for the opportunity to air our concerns.
Despite unreasonably short and impractical deadlines,
and that those most affected by its administrative practises were excluded from this review, by press release October 19th,
2009 WCB proclaimed that a “thorough process” was used to examine its claims administration and services. Please...
Is it any damn wonder injured workers and their families feel cheated and abused by WCB?