Workers' Compensation Safety Board of Nova Scotia

Transforming WCB Nova Scotia to improve service, and create a safer province (Dec 16/16)

Transforming WCB Nova Scotia to improve service, and create a safer province

December 16, 2016, HALIFAX, NS - A comprehensive business transformation at WCB Nova Scotia as it marks 100 years of operation on Jan. 1, 2017 will bring better customer service, faster access to information, and overall efficiency, the WCB announced today.

A major, multi-year modernization initiative is one of the pillars in the WCB’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. The changes will enable continued long-term progress in reducing the human and financial toll of workplace injury in our province.

During plan consultations, stakeholders were clear that the WCB needed to modernize. Stakeholders provided comments such as, “The WCB needs to get with technology,” “No one uses faxes anymore,” and, “More timely information will lead to better outcomes.”

These are just some of the comments reflected in the input received as the plan was developed.

“We’ve listened to those we serve, and we’re fundamentally changing how we do 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.”

Improvements include developing new secure online service channels, and more significantly, replacing the 25-year-old systems that power claims processing and management and employer rate assessments.

“Like many organizations, the WCB faces the necessity of updating its outdated, legacy systems,” says the WCB’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Rodney Burgar. “Outdated technology puts the organization at risk of continuing to meet its goals in injury prevention and return to work, which is not an acceptable outcome for Nova Scotia.”

WCB began enhancements in 2015 with the introduction of online registration for employers, the expansion of direct deposit so more workers could receive their payments faster, and an enhanced self-serve phone system. In 2017, we will introduce online service channels to improve online communications and access to information via secure online services.

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, serving customers as they have asked to be served.

For employers, changes will allow them access to 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, like physiotherapists, will get quicker approvals and payments, and WCB employees will have updated tools, resources and skills to support new ways of doing business. Several stakeholders shared their views in a video about the transformation.

“We know we need to change in order to meet our performance goals into the future, and to respond to the changing needs of those we serve,” says MacLean. “This change is needed for the WCB, and for Nova Scotia.”

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Learn more:

Backgrounder: WCB Nova Scotia's Transformation - At a Glance

  • WCB Nova Scotia became operational on January 1, 1917. As we mark 100 years, a major, multi-year modernization initiative is underway.
  • Stakeholders asked us to modernize during consultations for our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. We listened. Our long-term plan for change is grounded in that feedback:
    • “On the technology side, there is a bit of a gap. Need a more interactive…portal for case workers, employers, doctors and service providers.”
    • “Need to find better ways to provide interaction between WCB and the stakeholders in the system (employers, injured workers, health care providers, etc.).”
    • “More timely information will lead to better outcomes - take away the administrative burden. The WCB needs better external connectivity.”
  • Our systems are more than 25 years old, and they must be replaced. Overall, the WCB of tomorrow will be more efficient, operating in the way business is done today, with updated, sustainable systems.
  • Modernization began in 2015 with the introduction of online registration for employers, and the expansion of direct deposit so more workers could receive their payments faster, and an enhanced self-serve phone system. Over the next four years, from 2016-2019, specific areas of focus include introducing new secure online services and replacing the core systems that run the business.
  • For employers, the changes will mean better access to more data about injury trends, better assessments information, and less time 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 like physiotherapists will get quicker approvals and payments.
  • In 2017, workers, employers and service providers will be able to do business with us online – today, most processes are still paper based. These changes are in progress. At the same time, we’re also laying the groundwork for a fundamental overhaul of our core claims and assessments systems, which will take a few years to complete.
  • The modernization of WCB’s service, technology and systems, and the accompanying updates in the way our people will be able to serve workers and employers, represent a significant investment. It will take place over multiple years, with capital investments amortized over time. The exact cost to replace WCB’s core systems is unknown at this time, as we are still in discussions with potential vendors.
  • Assuming ongoing market performance and that we continue to reduce the cost of workplace injury in our province, we expect the investments to be achievable within the current funding strategy. They will also bring improvements and efficiencies in our overall operations – for example, by reducing administration time that may currently be a factor in lengthening some claims.
  • Workplace injury’s impact on our province has greatly decreased since a decade ago, with 34 per cent fewer workplace injuries reported in 2015 than a decade ago. Over the long term, there are improvements in the number of people hurt on the job, and the amount of time they spend off the job. We are also making financial progress – from 27 per cent funded in the early 1990s, to 81 per cent funded today. This progress must continue, and we must evolve the way we do business to do our part to make it happen.

Successes to date

  • Online employer registration continues to streamline this once paper-based, cumbersome process. Since its launch in 2015, 92% of registrations have been completed online.
  • In a typical month more than 1,000 workers access information they needed after business hours, when it works for them.
  • Today, more than 87% of all benefit payments to workers are made through direct deposit compared to 54% in November 2015, before changes were made.

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