January 7, 2022
The Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister Responsible for WorkplaceNL, today provided an update on the status of the 2019 Statutory Review of the Workers’ Compensation System.
The final report for the 2019 Statutory Review entitled ‘Striving for Balance and Compromise’, was submitted to the Provincial Government on June 10, 2021. The report including subsections contained a total of 48 recommendations. The report was released on June 18, 2021, fulfilling a recommendation to do so within 14 days of receipt.
Minister Davis is receiving regular updates from WorkplaceNL and the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Review Division (WHSCRD) on the status of 29 out of the 48 recommendations that are considered operational.
WorkplaceNL and WHSCRD noted the following operational recommendations are complete:
- Addressing record keeping and monitoring system for phone calls
- Maintaining the current structure of occupational health and safety committees
- Standardizing training of occupational health and safety committee members
In addition, substantial progress has been made to modify the language of decision letters to improve clarity and use of plain language, including the removal of the reference to ‘final decisions’ from decision letters. Preliminary work has begun on the establishment of the two joint committees between WorkplaceNL and WHSCRD recommended by the review.
The remaining operational recommendations are in various stages of review, analysis, and implementation. The 17 non-operational recommendations require additional financial, legal, and policy considerations, some may require legislative amendments. Further updates on the status of these recommendations will be made in the Department and WorkplaceNL annual reports.
Since 2015, there have been various improvements made to the province’s workers’ compensation system, including:
- The introduction of presumptive coverage for cancer for career and volunteer firefighters;
- The introduction of presumptive coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder for all workers;
- An increase in the income replacement rate for injured workers, from 80 to 85 per cent of net wages;
- The introduction of a new retirement benefit for injured workers that receive Extended Earnings Loss benefits;
- An increase from $5,000 to $10,000 in funeral expense coverage for workplace fatalities;
- A 31 per cent decrease in the average assessment rate paid by employers;
- Expanded online services for injured workers and employers; and,
- Faster external review (appeal) decisions.
“WorkplaceNL and the WHSCRD are moving forward with implementing the operational recommendations, including additional policy and cost analysis. Many will be incorporated into respective strategic and activity plans and implemented in due course. I appreciate the due diligence being exercised by WorkplaceNL, WHSCRD, and department officials as they work through the next steps of the process and thank all those involved in this important work.”
Honourable Bernard Davis
Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Minister Responsible for WorkplaceNL
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Environment and Climate Change
2022 01 07 9:50 a.m.