Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Closer Look...

The statistics reported by the WCB in the annual report, or in any publication, for that matter, must be closely examined. The reported data is, more often than not, reported in a way to make the WCB look very good in the eye of the stakeholder, government and the public. A closer look, however, reveals the inaccuracy of the figures.

Take, for example, the reporting at page 50 of the 2006 Annual Report of the appeals filed within the year for claims registered within the year. The WCB reports only 66 appeals for 2006 and 218 for 2005. At first glance, the numbers look impressive and indicate the WCB is doing a bang on job of making the right decision at the right time. A closer look, however, reveals a very different impression.

The Worker's Compensation Appeals Tribunal (WCAT) in it's 2007 Annual Report states 1089 appeals were filed during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007. The Worker's Advisor Program (WAP) reports quarterly and in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007 reported 423 new files received from April to June, 330 from October to December and 371 from January to March. There was no report for July to September available at the website.

How can the WCB report having only 66 decision appealed when WAP is reporting having received 1124 for three quarters of 2006 and WCAT reports having 1089 appeals filed. Obviously, the numbers reported by WCB are wrong.

At the inaugural stakeholder meeting in 2002, for the first time employers and workers were at the same table discussing workers compensation issues. Surprisingly, and perhaps most disappointing to the WCB, workers and employers agreed on many issues. The common theme amongst attendees at that meeting was the need for WCB accountability. Accountability has remained an important issue since that time.

Stakeholders must hold the WCB accountable. We cannot accept false and inaccurate reporting of statistics . How can we know the true state of the system if the WCB does not report the true state of affairs.

What is the WCB trying to hide... Increasing costs to adjudicate unnecessary appeals? Poor decision making? Lack of accountability within the WCB?

Speak up, challenge the numbers presented by the WCB. The WCB works for stakeholders. It is our system, not the WCB's!

Visit again soon for an article identifying the hidden costs of the WCB's return to work programs.

Til next time,


Monday, September 3, 2007

WCB Admin Costs Skyrocket!

How well is the WCB taking care of the money collected from employers through assessment charges?

Not very well at all, according to the WCB's own annual reports. The WCB's administration costs rose from $22.6 million in 1999 to a whopping $43 million in 2006. The number of registered claims dropped from 35,010 to 31,810 during the same time period.

To put these figures into better perspective, the administrative costs per registered claim in 1999 was $645.53 per claim. The 2006 numbers are doubled. In 2006, the administrative cost per registered claim is $1351.78. Registerd claims are dropping but WCB admin costs are rising. Why?

Yet, WCB CEO, Nancy McCready Williams has been publicly slapping herself and the WCB on the back for having such wonderful successes in reducing workplace injuries and decreasing claim durations. Shouldn't these successes be reflected in the bottom line?

If Nancy is saving money by returning more injured workers to work in a shorter period of time, one would expect administrative costs to be lower. From 2005 to 2006, WCB administrative costs rose by 12.86%. The number of registered claims decreased by 7 % during the same time period.

WCB administration costs have been steadily increasing. $24.5 million in 2001, $26.5 million in 2002, $28.2 million in 2003, $31.7 million in 2004, $38.1 million in 2005 and $43 million in 2006. Meanwhile, the number of registered claims each year is consistent. 34,701 in 2001, 33,874 in 2002, 33,674 in 2003, 34,166 in 2004, 34,017 in 2005 and 31,810 in 2006.

Why is it costing the WCB, and ultimately the assessed employers, more and more money each year to administer the same number of injury claims?

The WCB has been harping to employers and workers on the need to reduce the unfunded liability. Why is it the WCB has not taken measures to reduce their own costs? Stakeholders deserve a WCB that is accountable and fiscally responsible.

Are Nova Scotia employers receiving value for their dollar?

Your email comments are welcome.

Until next time,


Monday, August 20, 2007

Welcome to Stakeholder Views

Employers, Employees, Injured Workers, Unions, stakeholder organizations, elected officials and the WSIS agencies have all expressed publicly their concerns and opinions on the state of the worker's compensation system in Nova Scotia.

This blog is totally independant of any WSIS agency or other organization involved within the Workplace Safety and Insurance System. Although I am a stakeholder in the WSIS system, I will remain non-partisan in my views.

Some issues that will be presented here in the coming weeks or months may be controversial and will upset some people. My goal is not to antagonize the workers, employers or the WCB. My goal is to force people to seriously consider the scheme upon which this system is founded and to consider ways to make it better. Are we doing this right? Is there a better way?

Please bookmark this site and send the link to your friends and colleagues.

There will be a post in early September that will cause us to seriously consider whether the WCB is doing an adequate job of looking after the employer's money!