WCB Nova Scotia responds to Nova Scotia Auditor General’s report, accepts all recommendations (May 28/19)

HALIFAX, NS - WCB Nova Scotia (WCB) has accepted all recommendations from both phases of an audit into WCB governance and operations by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG). 

“First, I’d like to express my appreciation to the audit team for their thoughtful work and subsequent recommendations,” said Rodney Burgar, Chair of the WCB Board of Directors.  

“The Board of Directors has been closely monitoring the Auditor General’s work since it began. We were very pleased with the results of the first phase, which found that we are a well-governed organization, on a path to financial sustainability,” Burgar said. 

In that first phase, the OAG found that the WCB had effective governance structures and processes that provide oversight and accountability, and noted the significant progress toward financial sustainability.

The OAG today released a report on the second phase of the audit, focused on claims management. While it found that, overall, the WCB is effectively managing claims for workplace injury and return to work, it has also made important recommendations for improvement. 

The WCB accepted all 12 recommendations and is committed to making changes to ensure they are implemented. The Board of Directors will oversee that implementation.

“This second phase of the audit confirms the WCB is managing workplace injury claims effectively overall, but important improvements are needed,” Burgar said. “Our oversight as the recommendations are implemented will leverage those same governance and oversight structures noted in the first phase of the audit.”

WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean says that implementation will begin immediately. 

“I understand and appreciate that the decisions we make, the time it takes us to make them, and our protection of personal information all have a very real human impact,” said MacLean. “These things matter to Nova Scotia workers and their families.” 

Acknowledging improvements had been needed for some time, MacLean points to a large-scale modernization project, part of WCB’s Strategic Plan. Ongoing for several years, the modernization is an important step toward improving services for workers and employers. The biggest part of this work is the upgrade of 25-year-old claims and assessments systems to the insurance software suite Guidewire, which is going live next week. 

“Improving our processes and our systems will help us to provide better service,” said MacLean. “But the technology is only a tool, and it alone will not address the changes needed in some of our processes.”

MacLean adds that the OAG report and recommendations come at a time when they can be integrated into the way the new systems are used at the WCB.

“Overall, we are proud of the contribution we make to this province. We are on a long-term path of progress toward sustainability, and we are helping to reduce the impact of workplace injury,” MacLean says. “But, this report clearly outlines areas where we need to make improvements. And we will.” 

The WCB will report to stakeholders as implementation progresses, primarily through its quarterly and annual reports to Government.