Workers' Compensation Task Force Hears From NB Police Association, J.D. Irving

Posted on Thursday, November 23, 2017 15:06 PM

A task force reviewing the workers' compensation system is touring the province holding public meetings and has made its final stop in Saint John.

The New Brunswick Police Association, which represents frontline municipal officers, says the workers' compensation system is of vital importance to their officers and their families because of the nature of their work. The NBPA's Bob Davidson says stress is causing mental and physical injury to officers.

"The scenes they come on to, before anybody, with the mangled bodies of car accidents and assaults, and suicides, which is becoming more and more prevalent, these are devastating mental injuries," says Davidson.

The presentation says that in 1993 there were major downgrades in protection and benefits.

"We graciously beg of you to recommend the restoration of assessment rates that restore the protection and benefits that were tore away in 1993," Davidson told the task force.

Another presenter was J.D. Irving, which employs over 81-hundred people in New Brunswick. 

J.D.I. told the workers' compensation task force that recordable injuries are down 53-percent over 10 years and lost time claims for 2016 are 14-percent lower than the previous five year average from 2011 to to 2015. 

"I just showed you a couple of slides where claims are down, durations are much better than the provincial average. Yet in 2017 we received a 33-percent increase, and that 33-percent increase is millions of dollars, it's not an insignificant sum of money," says J.D.I. director of government relations Chris MacDonald.

"The concerning this is...this is an employer funded program, as you know, and you would think the activities of the employer would have a direct impact on the outcomes."

MacDonald says we need to deal with the root cause issues as soon as possible.