WCB 2002 Annual Report
HALIFAX, April 1, 2003 – Faster payment of injured workers’ claims and development of a comprehensive system-wide strategic plan are two of the highlights from the WCB’s 2002 Annual Report, tabled in the Legislature today by the Honourable Ron Russell, Minister responsible for the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Titled “Co-operation, Collaboration, Teamwork”, the report looks at the innovative steps the WCB has taken in 2002 to improve the service it offers to injured workers and employers, and to provide a stable and sustainable future for the entire compensation system. During the year, the WCB focused its efforts on the response to the Report of the Workers’ Compensation Review Committee released in April, 2002.
In its response to the report, the Government announced the transfer of the Education and Prevention Unit of the Occupational Health & Safety Division of the Department of Environment and Labour to the WCB. “Prevention is a cornerstone of the system,” says Louis R. Comeau, the WCB’s Chair. “Bringing these operations into our mandate will allow us to proactively work to prevent accidents before they happen.”
The next stage in implementation of the Government Response Plan is to have the agencies in the system – the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal, the Workers’ Advisers Program, Occupational Health & Safety, and the WCB – develop a comprehensive, system-wide strategic plan for the entire workplace safety and insurance system. This plan would provide the system with a clear mission, values, and specific, measurable goals and targets, by which stakeholders would be able to evaluate the performance of these organizations in meeting their objectives. This plan is still in the draft stages and is being completed with the assistance of a stakeholder consultation process that provides stakeholders and interested Nova Scotians with the opportunity to provide input into the system and where they would like to see it headed.
2002 Report Highlights:
The WCB was able to process claims more quickly, and by December, 78% of injured workers were receiving their first benefit cheque within 15 days of their accident. This is up from 60.2% in 2001.
On the financial front, at the end of 2001 the WCB was 73.2% funded, up from 71.6% in 2001, and 27% in 1993. The WCB was able to reduce the unfunded liability by $4.3 million, however this amount was less than planned due to a number of factors including a volatile investment market.
Over 33,800 claims were registered with the WCB in 2002, including 8,769 where workers lost time from work due to the accident. In 2001, 34,701 claims were filed with the WCB, 9,200 for time-loss accidents. Sprains and strains continue to be the most common type of workplace injury in Nova Scotia with the back being the body part most commonly injured.
The Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia provides comprehensive workplace accident insurance to over 18,000 employers and approximately 300,000 workers in Nova Scotia.
Copies of the report are available by calling (902) 491-8100 or on the website at www.wcb.ns.ca.