Open letter to Craig Tuton, chair of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board:
Craig Tuton, as stated in my first letter, you mentioned the report I wrote for the chamber was “riddled with errors in fact as well as in methodology.”
If there are errors in fact, Tuton, they are errors that your board provided to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada because that is where I got the facts.
I only used information your board provided to your national association.
In your comments to both the legislature and to the media, you brought forward specific items from the report that you stated were incorrect.
Today, I would like to respond to these points:
Â¥ Workers’ compensation is an insurance fund and not a government department and is paid for completely by employers.
Â¥ The issue of fines and safety violations.
Â¥ Number of days from injury to first payment.
As the chair of WCB, I should not have to remind you that workers’ compensation is not a government department funded by tax dollars. It is an insurance system to protect both injured workers and employers, which is fully funded by employers’ assessments Ã not Yukon citizens’ tax dollars.
For you to compare how the Yukon tax dollars are spent on education or health care and then relate this to the employers’ investment into an insurance system is comparing apples to oranges.
WCB is an insurance system, not a social net.
As for your premise of “buying locally,” if this is such a concern for you, why is it that your board does not use the local investment firms to manage the benefit liability fund of $120,000,000?
The reason that you don’t use local expertise here is that you want the best expertise available in Canada for the best price. Employers are asking for nothing different Ã the best insurance for the best price.
Turning to the next issue, Tuton, you were very quick to paint the worst possible picture as it relates to the fines and safety violations in the BC jurisdiction.
It is true that the BC jurisdiction utilizes both fines and penalties more rigidly against employers who do not comply with the requirements with a view to protect both the employer assessment rates as well as to encourage safer workplaces.
In 2007, the BC jurisdiction conducted 29,893 occupational health and safety inspections resulting in 51,690 orders being issued to BC employers with a total value of the penalties being $4,300,000. Tuton, I am sure that after you do the math you will see that the average penalty per order was $83.
Your comment, “So I mean, we are willing to look at stiffer fines and more prescriptive regulations if that’s what employers are asking for,” is definitely a threat, which, in today’s society, will not get you very far nor create a sound working relationship with employers.
Again, Tuton, the average penalty in BC as mentioned above is $83 and, when we talk about relationships, WorkSafeBC has an approval rating of close to 80 per cent from their employer group.
Now Tuton, let us deal with your comment with regard to the number of days from injury to first payment as you stated in the legislature, “The study they used, that they quoted, states that here in the Yukon the time to first payment is 41 days. But to get that number, they had to go well back into the history books, which is something that I don’t quite understand … If you look at our website, you’ll see the Yukon’s average time to first payment in 2009 is actually 19.7 days, which is 3.5 days faster than the time to first payment in BC.”
Tuton, you are quoting the third quarter 2009 rate of 19.7 days. Then compare that to the 2007 rate for BC.
Tuton, we went to the most recent Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada statistics, not well back into the history book to find the statistic because that is the most current information that you have provided to your national association and they have had the time to vet.
Up until a few days ago, there was a graph on your website which showed that the average number of days from claim creation to payment for the third quarter of 2009 was 28 days and yet in another graph the average number of days from injury to payment was 20 days.
Tuton, it would appear that you are creating claims eight days before an injury happens.
Again, Tuton, where does the 19.7 days come from when you are saying it takes 28 days from claim creation to payment in the third quarter of 2009?
This is the reason that the report I did for the chamber utilized information reviewed by your national association. At least you have now taken this incorrect graph off your results scorecard. It makes me wonder what other information provided in the scorecard or website is incorrect.
Tuton, as the chair of the WCB, it is expected you are a credible person who presents all of the facts and not just those that favour your position.
From your recent conduct, it would appear that you have lost your credibility and, as such, maybe you have been the chair to long and it is time for you to step down and allow a more creditble person to take over.