Remaking the Board by Stealth

May 16, 2019

Reorganizations are common for public, and private, administrative bodies. And this has certainly been true of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and the Workers' Compensation Board and Workmen's Compensation Board that preceded it., Inevitably, the changes in the reorganization would be trumpeted by the Board as leading to a leaner (more nimble, more efficient, more transparent...) organization. But the WSIB since the election of Doug Ford has chosen a new approach to reorganization- stealthy nastiness without marketing.

In July, 2018, the Board underwent a reorganization and made no effort to publicize anything about it. Instead the particulars have become clear over time:

1. Case Managers have become even more isolated from injured workers- the physical security barriers at 200 Front Street West have been extended to telephone barriers; Case Managers no longer put telephone numbers on their letters and General Enquiry staff are forbidden from releasing the telephone numbers of Case Managers.

2. Time frames for all activities that could lead to the payment of benefits have been lengthened. This applies to all stages of the appeals process including implementation and NEL assessment.

3. Individual Case Managers are assigned to claims for specific tasks. Once the task is complete, the file is attached to a pool of Case Managers and when a new task arises, the file must be assigned to a particular Case Manager. For the Board, this has the advantage of both increasing isolation from injured workers and extending time frames.

4. The Board now permits uploading of documents, but any efforts to increase two-way communication by technology (e-mail, file transmission) are thwarted.

It's a bleak picture, without even the tailgate parties and buck-a-beer that provides cover for this administration generally. No wonder they are stealthy about it.