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More prompt attention required


Former justice minister Judy Manning received a lot of scrutiny when she was parachuted into the post last fall. And it was well deserved.

The unelected lawyer seemed to come out of nowhere. Who was she, and what qualified her to be the top justice official in the province?

The media found a few holes in her background, and one of them was the fact that she had failed to complete reviews of any of the cases she was given in the short time she worked for the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC).

As it turns out, neither did most other lawyers involved.

As detailed in a TC Media story this week, the WHSCC does not have a good track record in this regard.

In May of this year, during a budget committee meeting, a senior official with the WHSCC admitted the agency, since 1994, has essentially never reviewed and handed down decisions on cases within the required 60 days.

And the minister responsible appears to think that's fine.

TC Media has tried in vain to get Sandy Collins to answer questions on the issue since May. At the time, Collins said something would happen "very soon."

But nothing did - nor will anything happen until the spring of 2016 at the earliest.

That doesn't leave much hope for clients needing their cases reviewed. These are injured and sick workers, who are counting on the commission to consider their situations within a reasonable time period.

Take Pat Dunphy of Bay Bulls. He was injured working on the Hibernia platform in 1995, where he received a blow to the head that caused compression fractures on his spine. After multiple surgeries, he is still mostly confined to his recliner chair in the living room.

Pat's wife, Kim, told TC Media their dealings with WHSCC have been plagued by delays, endless cycles of appeals, bureaucratic confusion and many situations where government workers lose documents, or claim they've never seen them.

There are those out there who think "workers comp." is all about lazy people trying to avoid returning to the workplace. Even if there are a couple of sponges in the system, it's hardly a reason for people like Dunphy to go through such frustration, especially when they're already dealing with such drastic changes in their lives.

It's time for an end to this red tape. The compensation process is meant to replace the potentially expensive claims that could be launched through civil litigation.

Injured workers have given up their right to go that route. In return, they deserve more prompt attention.

 

The unelected lawyer seemed to come out of nowhere. Who was she, and what qualified her to be the top justice official in the province?

The media found a few holes in her background, and one of them was the fact that she had failed to complete reviews of any of the cases she was given in the short time she worked for the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC).

As it turns out, neither did most other lawyers involved.

As detailed in a TC Media story this week, the WHSCC does not have a good track record in this regard.

In May of this year, during a budget committee meeting, a senior official with the WHSCC admitted the agency, since 1994, has essentially never reviewed and handed down decisions on cases within the required 60 days.

And the minister responsible appears to think that's fine.

TC Media has tried in vain to get Sandy Collins to answer questions on the issue since May. At the time, Collins said something would happen "very soon."

But nothing did - nor will anything happen until the spring of 2016 at the earliest.

That doesn't leave much hope for clients needing their cases reviewed. These are injured and sick workers, who are counting on the commission to consider their situations within a reasonable time period.

Take Pat Dunphy of Bay Bulls. He was injured working on the Hibernia platform in 1995, where he received a blow to the head that caused compression fractures on his spine. After multiple surgeries, he is still mostly confined to his recliner chair in the living room.

Pat's wife, Kim, told TC Media their dealings with WHSCC have been plagued by delays, endless cycles of appeals, bureaucratic confusion and many situations where government workers lose documents, or claim they've never seen them.

There are those out there who think "workers comp." is all about lazy people trying to avoid returning to the workplace. Even if there are a couple of sponges in the system, it's hardly a reason for people like Dunphy to go through such frustration, especially when they're already dealing with such drastic changes in their lives.

It's time for an end to this red tape. The compensation process is meant to replace the potentially expensive claims that could be launched through civil litigation.

Injured workers have given up their right to go that route. In return, they deserve more prompt attention.

 

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