News Release Archive

The new office of the Workers' Advisers Program is now up and
running in Sydney, Labour Minister Gerald O'Malley announced

"This office is an important step in improving service to clients
in Cape Breton," said Mr. O'Malley. "Having people located
locally makes a big difference in terms of better service."

The labour minister made the announcement with Economic
Development and Tourism Minister Manning MacDonald.

"Cape Bretoners will see many benefits from the new office," said
Mr. MacDonald. "Not only will it mean better service for local
injured workers, it means a few new jobs for Cape Breton."

The Sydney office was established this spring as part of a
restructuring of the Workers' Advisers Program. The office
employs six people - three advisers and three support staff.
There are approximately 1,400 clients in Cape Breton.

"Now, clients can talk to people with a first-hand knowledge of
the local area and local issues," said Mr. MacDonald.

Across Nova Scotia, the Workers' Advisers Program provides free
assistance, advice and representation to eligible injured workers
appealing their case under the Workers' Compensation Act.

The program, formerly known as the Workers' Counsellor Program,
has been undergoing restructuring over the past two years. There
are currently more than 6,000 clients across Nova Scotia.

"All across the province, injured workers will see the benefits
of the changes we are making," said Mr. O'Malley. "There will be
clear standards, greater consistency and more control over the
quality of service. Generally, we will be more responsive to the
needs of injured workers."

A major part of the restructuring involved a move from using
private, outside lawyers to using 
in-house advisers. "Our advisers are experts in workers'
compensation issues and appeals," said Mr. O'Malley.

The changes will benefit taxpayers as well. In the first full
year after restructuring (1999), the changes are expected to save
approximately $1 million. The average cost per client per year is
now $275. A pilot project in Halifax has shown that the average
cost per client would drop to approximately $142 using in-house

Other recent changes have opened the door to hiring non-lawyers,
such as paralegals, to handle cases. 

Phone numbers for the Sydney office are 902-563-2302 or toll-free
1-800-890-6786. On mainland Nova Scotia, anyone with questions
about the program can call toll-free 1-800-774-4712.


Contact: Anne Clark 
         Workers' Advisers Program
         902-424-3663 or 1-800-774-4712

         Jennifer MacIsaac
         Department of Labour
         902-424-4680 or 902-424-3219

ngr                    August 14, 1997 - 1:15 pm