Workers' Compensation Safety Board of Nova Scotia

Modernizing our service for a changing world (Dec. 1/16)

Report to the Community for second quarter released

HALIFAX, NS – As it marks a century of service, WCB Nova Scotia is transforming the way it does business to bring better customer service, faster access to information, and overall efficiency, enabling continued long-term progress in reducing the human and financial toll of workplace injury in our province. 

The Q2 Report to the Community highlights the WCB’s journey to improve service through better systems. This major, multi-year modernization initiative is one of the pillars in the WCB’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. During consultations for that plan, stakeholders were clear that the WCB needed to modernize.

“We’ve listened to those we serve, and we’re fundamentally changing our business,” said WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean.  “Workplace safety and return to work have important roles to play in the Nova Scotia of tomorrow.  The changes will result in real improvements to the way employers, workers, and service providers interact with us. We can’t continue with the ways of the past – we need sustainable systems, so that we can serve Nova Scotia’s workers and employers into the future.”

The WCB began enhancements in 2015 and its progress to date includes:

  • the introduction of online registration for employers
  • the expansion of direct deposit so more workers receive their payments faster
  • an enhanced self-serve phone system

In 2017, the WCB will introduce more channels to improve communications and access to information through secure online services. More significantly, over the next few years the WCB will replace its core systems – the technology that powers worker claims management and employer rate assessments.  

But the transformation isn’t just about technology. Over time, it will mean a more efficient, modernized organization, with a workforce that continues to focus on service excellence, and serving customers as they have asked to be served. This work is already underway. For example, earlier this year we introduced a new approach to multidisciplinary health services to ensure consistent, focused care for injured workers who need more advanced treatment for work-related sprain and strain injuries. 

For employers, these changes will allow them to access more data about injury trends and better assessment information with less time spent chasing paper. Workers will get real-time access to their own claims information, and a streamlined claims process overall that’s faster and more consistent. Service providers, such as physiotherapists, will get quicker approvals and payments, and WCB employees will have updated tools, resources and skills to support new ways of doing business.

The community report includes other operational news and highlights, including:

  • The injury rate remains at an all-time low with 1.76 time-loss injuries per 100 covered workers.
  • Although fewer days were lost to workplace injury, claims are longer on average.
  • WCB Nova Scotia announced its 2017 assessment rates in September. Long-term care is seeing a rate increase of six per cent, while homecare is seeing an increase of 13 per cent.
  • Assessment rates in fishing are dropping 16 per cent next year. The industry continues to see great progress with rates that have decreased 32 per cent since 2015. Improvements in fishing are an example of how real change can happen when an industry comes together.
  • WCB CEO Stuart MacLean became Chair of the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards in Canada for a two-year term that started in June.
  • The Nova Scotia Mental Health and PTSD Conference was held in Halifax (October 31-November 4) to raise awareness of the importance of mentally healthy workplaces.
  • Senior leaders and safety champions from the retail, food and beverage sector attended a one-day symposium in June hosted by WCB Nova Scotia.

To access WCB Nova Scotia’s full second quarter Report to Community, which includes financial results, click here.

WCB Nova Scotia’s community report provides an overview of our activities during the previous quarter. We make this information public so stakeholders can review and assess our performance as the year unfolds. We do not publish a fourth quarter community report as this information is included in our annual report, which is published each year in April.