Changes meant to make workplaces safer, ensure employees safely return to work as soon as they are able
New Brunswick has introduced legislative amendments to enhance workplace safety, protect benefits for injured workers and provide employers with a more stable compensation assessment rates.
“These changes are meant to make workplaces safer and also ensure that employees safely return to work as soon as they are able,” said Trevor Holder, minister of post-secondary education, training and labour. “This builds on legislative amendments our government introduced earlier this year: modernizing legislation to protect the rights and benefits of workers while maintaining a balance that will help make the workers’ compensation system more sustainable and affordable for employers.”
The changes would clarify the obligations of employers and supervisors respecting the health and safety of workers; extend the timeframe for bringing forward prosecutions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; and reinforce the employer’s obligation to return injured workers to work, unless the accommodation causes the employer undue hardship.
The changes would also introduce administrative penalties for Workers’ Compensation Act violations and clarify that WorkSafeNB has the discretion to determine the medical aid that may be provided to injured workers.
WorkSafeNB will be responsible for administering the related legislation and its regulations.
“We are pleased to see this legislation introduced, as the improvements are essential in building healthier and safer workplaces throughout our province,” said Mel Norton, chairperson of WorkSafeNB’s board of directors.
“The legislation to enhance an employer’s duty to accommodate is also significant, as the benefits of work and keeping connected to the workplace are proven factors in the successful rehabilitation and recovery of an injured worker. Ensuring worker health and safety contributes to a healthy family life and a strong economy for the benefit of all New Brunswickers.”
The amendments would apply to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Workers Compensation Act, and the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal Act.