Albertans working—a safe, healthy and strong Alberta



This is our vision for Alberta, a vision that underpins our strategic priorities and the goals we set for our organization. It unites our employees and partners and has guided our system into its second century of existence in Alberta.


We can’t achieve this vision alone

As an organization, WCB-Alberta administers the workers’ compensation system, but an injured worker’s recovery and return to work is the result of many people coming together. Partnering with others is the only way we can fully serve Albertans recovering from a workplace injury.


The system thrives when meaningful partnerships are in place

Injured workers know what motivates them, employers understand the nuances of their workplaces, and doctors have long-standing relationships with their patients. We have the in-depth knowledge of the workers’ compensation system and how it can help the people who need it, but we need these partners alongside us to ensure it’s successful. This is Alberta’s workers’ compensation system, and we want our partners to be involved and proud of the role they play in helping injured workers recover and return successfully to their lives.


1,884,400
workers covered



162,981
registered employers



1,802
WCB employees


Our Board of Directors

Agriculture. Energy. Steel work. The men and women of our Board of Directors come from different professional backgrounds, but they share a unified commitment—maintaining a healthy, stable and fair workers’ compensation system in Alberta.

Accountable to the Minister of Labour, together our Board of Directors is representative of the interests of workers, employers and general public of Alberta. They monitor the performance of WCB-Alberta to ensure we are true to our mandate and deliver on our commitments.



Board Chair

Grace Thostenson

Member since: 2012


Grace has over 25 years of labour relations experience in the telecommunications and electrical power industries. Currently the Business Manager of the United Utility Workers’ Association (UUWA), she was appointed as our Board Chair in 2018.

Representative of the interests of workers

Ivana Niblett

Member since: 2017


Ivana has been involved with the labour movement for approximately 20 years, working with members, affiliates and labour councils across Canada. Ivana is currently a Business Agent and First Vice President for the United Steelworkers Local 1-207. Having sat on several boards, including the Alberta Federation of Labour Executive Council, Ivana is well versed in governance, decision making and accountability.


Jane Sustrik

Member since: 2019


Jane is a registered nurse with a passion for advancing the rights of her co-workers and working people everywhere. As First Vice President of the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), she has been recognized for her contributions to raising public awareness, lobbying governments and educating the public.


Mike Boyle

Member since: 2019


Mike is the Director of Negotiations and Policy at Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), a union representing 26,000 paramedical professional and technical health care workers in Alberta. His 30 years of experience as a labour relations practitioner includes grievance handling, formal hearings and collective bargaining.


Representative of the interests of employers

Erna Ference

Member since: 2012


Erna is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a diverse professional background in the agricultural, legal, and oil and gas sectors. Her experience serves her well in her current role on an agricultural safety board and in previous board roles with the Chicken Farmers of Canada, the Alberta Chicken Producers and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture Organizations.


Philip Hughes

Member since: 2012


Philip has over 25 years’ experience working in Canada’s energy sector. He has served as president and CEO of five Canadian energy companies, is currently the chair of Naikun Wind Energy Group Inc. and Kineticor Resources Inc. and is on the Board of Instream Energy Systems Corp.


Keith Serre

Member since: 2019


Keith is a registered professional engineer and the Manager of Health, Safety, Environment and Assurance for an international oil and gas producer. His focus on health and safety influences his daily work; providing process safety engineering support, and also his extracurricular efforts with industry groups and committees.


Representative of the interests of the public

Mary
Phillips-Rickey

Member since: 2017


With a background as a Chartered Professional Accountant, Mary held positions with the Edmonton Opera Association, Alberta Power Limited and Canadian Utilities Limited. Currently she serves as a board member for the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) and is the Director of Finance for CKUA Radio.


Dr. William
Hnydyk

Member since: 2018


Bill has 28 years of family practice and 17 years of senior management experience. Prior to his recent retirement, Bill was the assistant executive director of professional affairs at the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), where he worked to resolve issues related to patient care.


Dave Rebbitt

Member since: 2019


An independent consultant, Dave has over 30 years of public and private practice experience with workers’ compensation boards across the country. A veteran of the Canadian Forces, Dave holds a master’s degree in business administration and is the author of a book, articles and blogs on worker safety.




Standing committees


Our board members bring their expertise and insight to the standing committees on which they serve. Each committee has an area of focus and provides research, risk assessment and advice to help WCB-Alberta’s executive team make strong, informed decisions.


Audit and finance


The audit and finance committees are responsible for the oversight of WCB-Alberta’s risk management framework and annual audited financial statements, which includes overseeing the valuation of the claim benefit liabilities (the actuarial present value of claim benefits that will be paid into the future). The committees also review and provide recommendations for our budget and oversee WCB-Alberta's investment management program.


Human resource and governance


The human resource and governance committee reviews and makes recommendations for human resource management, succession planning and corporate goals and objectives. The committee also monitors our corporate governance policy and ensures that it follows governance best practices.


Policy


The policy committee reviews and makes recommendations for benefit and premium policies and legislative changes. The committee also provides direction on engaging the appropriate level of stakeholder involvement in policy research and development.


Our leaders

Our executive leaders set the tone for our organization. They are responsible for creating business objectives and strategies that align us to our vision of a safe, healthy and strong Alberta.

In 2018, our executive guided us through the implementation of new changes in legislation, while challenging us to think about new and better ways to improve the services we deliver. This team is passionate about supporting and empowering our 1,802 employees as we work together to create a stakeholder experience that is built upon compassionate and capable service.

Trevor Alexander

President & CEO

(Effective March 2019)

Wendy King

Chief Operating
Officer

Ron Helmhold

Chief Financial
Officer

William Ostapek

Secretary and
General Counsel

Roxy Shulha-McKay

Vice President,
Employee and
Corporate Services

Marcela Matthew

Vice President,
Worker Health
and Wellness

We are accountable for the administration of the workers’ compensation system, but it is not ours alone. It belongs to all Albertans. In reflecting on 2018, we are so grateful for the collaboration and support from our stakeholders and provincial community that led to a number of enhancements for workers, their families and employers. As an employer ourselves, we were impressed by the dedication and resilience of our staff who worked tirelessly to support our vision and committed themselves to delivering service that aims to reflect each individual's unique journey and needs.


Our commitment to you

When the unexpected happens, we want our stakeholders to feel certain about what they can expect from us—that’s why we’ve created our Code of Rights and Conduct. Before a client picks up the phone to speak with us, we want them to feel confident that they’ll receive service that is caring, individualized and fair.

Your rights, our commitments


We will treat you with dignity and respect.

You have the right to honesty, courtesy and considerate treatment regardless of your individual needs, cultural differences or beliefs.

We will listen to you.

Your views will be fairly considered when making decisions that affect you.

We will be open and honest when communicating with you.

Your questions and issues will be addressed in a timely manner.

We will provide you with complete and correct information.

You will be fully informed about services, entitlements and responsibilities.

We will ensure you have access to information.

You can examine all relevant documents when a decision is made.

We will ensure your information is held privately and confidentially.

You have the right to privacy. Information given to WCB-Alberta will only be used for purposes under the Workers' Compensation Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.


Service issues and concerns


Partnering with injured workers and employers is a relationship we take seriously. We want Albertans to know that they can count on us and, if it ever feels like we didn’t get it quite right, they have the right to raise their concerns.

Similar to our process for claim and account decision issues, there are steps workers and employers can follow if they are concerned with the service they received.

Talk to us. A WCB staff member, supervisor or manager is here to listen and make things right.

Contact the Fair Practices Office. If the issue remains, workers and employers have the right to contact the independent Fair Practices Office for advocacy support.

Our results

In support of our strategic priorities, we set objectives each year to help ensure we deliver the best possible service to our stakeholders.

Customer outcomes

Customer satisfaction

Through timely, respectful and transparent interactions with workers and employers, we achieved an average customer satisfaction score of 88.1%.

Target: Exceed North American benchmark of 83.9%

Fairness

We audit decisions throughout the life of a claim for accuracy and quality. We achieved an average score of 96.0% on those decisions.

Target: 90%

Customized return to work

Our success in engaging workers with complex claims is measured by feedback on whether they felt appropriately involved in planning their care and return to work. We achieved 87.8%.

Target: 85%

Key deliverables

Customer satisfaction

We exceeded our target by reducing call-back requests by 26% (for a total of 23,655 in 2018).

Target: Maintain call-back request volume achieved in 2017.

Medical care

Successful worker-focused care requires making sure that our workers feel satisfied with the medical treatment they received through their claim. We started measuring this in 2018 and achieved a baseline of 86.5%.

Target: Since this objective was new in 2018, no target was established. Instead, this result will be used to establish a benchmark for our performance going forward.

Proactive resolution

Our Customer Service teams are proactive in finding opportunities to resolve claim issues with workers and employers, without the need for a formal review. We achieved 36.4% resolution.

Target: 35%

Wage loss

We audit our overall plans for quality, which must include appropriate re-employment services and accurate wage-loss benefits. We achieved quality audit results of 97.2%.

Target: 90%

Financial sustainability

While the Alberta economy showed improvement over 2018, the recovery remained fragile and fell short of budget expectations. WCB experienced a $191.9 million deficit in customer operations as a result of higher claim costs and lower premium revenues.

Despite these economic challenges, one way we work to safeguard worker benefits is through prudent asset-liability management practices, to ensure funds are available to provide for future costs of current- and prior-year claims by achieving a minimum year-end funded ratio target of 114%. We achieved a funded ratio of 118.3%.

Innovations

Implement all required operational changes stemming from the Government of Alberta Review Panel recommendations and legislative amendments.

The legislative changes introduced in 2018 gave us an opportunity to evolve the way the workers’ compensation system works for Albertans. We started the year with the first wave of changes effective January 1, 2018. We undertook extensive training, communication and change management efforts to help our staff understand the intent of the legislation so they could support our stakeholders, ensuring they felt prepared for the changes to the system and their businesses.

Modernize our systems to enhance service delivery to our partners.

Behind every client interaction is a robust network of systems and technology that support the work we do. A number of multi-phase system projects successfully reached key milestones in 2018.

The final phase of our employer account system enhancement was completed on budget and ahead of schedule, while the heart of our claim/worker payment and financial system continues on its six-year modernization. As we continue to develop new systems, we understand the importance of maintaining a strong focus on the data we are collecting and on how our systems communicate with each other. This integration of claim, financial and employer-related information allows us to create comprehensive reporting on the health of the overall compensation system.


Story: One fur all

Animal rescues are among charities our WCB family supports

We understand the importance of community and what it means to give back

Caring for people in need is at the very core of our business and values, and the people we hire to become part of our WCB family reflect that. They believe our communities are much more than places where we work and live; they’re also where we feel a sense of belonging. It’s this belonging and connectedness that drives our staff to find ways to give back.

Our philanthropic culture grew from our employees’ efforts to help others

It started with office bulletin boards blanketed by posters, put there by employees trying to raise awareness and donations for causes near and dear to their hearts.

Today, we support those efforts through programs that allow staff to donate to a host of recognized charitable causes. In 2018, WCB employees donated more than $28,000 to 14 charities, among them Second Chance Animal Rescue Society, or SCARS.

Employees understand what it means to make a difference

Recently, a meeting room at WCB was full of teeny-tiny lions rubbing noses with adoring humans, the very definition of a “roaring success” for SCARS. WCB-Alberta hosted SCARS’ first-ever kitten-cuddle fundraiser this year, with our employees raising more than $1,200 for the non-profit animal rescue group—while at the same time giving them a coffee break that cleared their minds and filled their hearts.

WCB claims investigator Jill St. Laurent has long been a supporter of SCARS, raising money by selling her handmade scarves to colleagues and even organizing a craft fair with 35 local vendors, with partial proceeds going to SCARS.

”SCARS does such great work,” says Jill. “But it’s one of many. There are a lot of other deserving charities my colleagues and I get to support. I love working for an employer that places such importance on giving back.”

It’s people like Jill and hundreds of others at WCB who understand what it means to make a difference in the lives of others.


In 2018, WCB employees donated more than $28,000 to 14 charities.


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Albertans working—a safe, healthy and strong Alberta.