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28 January 2020

Major changes to the CNESST management team

The Standards, Fairness, Occupational Health and Safety Commission (CNESST) has just made major changes to its management team. A decision that comes following revelations from Radio-Canada on the setbacks of a reform of the handling of claims for injured workers.

Radio-Canada has learned that the president and chief executive officer of the CNESST (Commission for Standards, Fairness, Occupational Health and Safety), Manuelle Oudar, announced Thursday the appointment of two new managers for carry out its vast reform. They will take charge of the General Directorate for the admissibility of complaints (DGAR) from next Monday.

The current Director General of the DGAR, who has been piloting the centralized complaints processing project since May 2018, will be replaced by an experience cadre from another CNESST department (Standards, Equity Commission, health and safety). The manager thanked, however, will remain employed by the CNESST (Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work), according to his spokesperson Nicolas Bégin.

Then a senior official of the Régie de l’assurance-maladie du Québec will become a senior advisor for the DGAR (General Directorate for the Admissibility of Claims). Importantly, he will answer directly to President Manuelle Oudar, said Bégin.

These actions come a few days after a meeting between Ms. Oudar and the Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet.

The minister said he was concerned about the negative feedback about the reform and himself called this meeting last week.

Oudar ignored

The DGAR was gradually deployed last June. It essentially consists of a centralization of all claims, everywhere in Quebec, of workers who have suffered an employment injury.

The expected results were not there. Rather than being speeded up, claims processing times have skyrocketed and thousands of cases have been left on hold, causing overwork on claims workers.

CNESST (Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work) was forced to adopt a consolidation plan in July and postponed the establishment of the DGAR (Direction générale de l claims eligibility) as of May 2020 in several regions of the province, including Quebec.

In a letter sent Thursday to the Syndicate of the public service and parapublic of Quebec to inform him of the changes, Manuelle Oudar affirms that she had not been made aware of all the problems experienced by the employees of the DGAR ( Claims Admissibility Branch).

This important information had not been communicated to me before by the sector and it strongly touched and guided me in my decision-making, she wrote.

Listening to employees

Manuel Oudar goes further.

Rather than limiting itself to a change of managers, it also reaches out to employees, many of whom had confided in Radio-Canada on condition of anonymity, as well as to their unions.

According to Nicolas Bégin, management will conduct a tour next March to exchange and hear the solutions they offer to facilitate the implementation of the DGAR (General Directorate for the admissibility of complaints)

“Customer service must correspond to the declaration of services. Through this, we must ensure the well-being of employees” .- Nicolas Bégin, spokesperson, CNESST-

Employees will also have access to an email box to express themselves and propose. Manuelle Oudar also asked the human resources department to put in place support measures for staff.

Finally, monthly meetings will now be held with union representatives concerning the DGAR (General Directorate for the Admissibility of Complaints).

The Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet, said he was satisfied with the measures taken by the CNESST.

I would like to salute the actions of the Chair of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the CNESST. This demonstrates his desire to improve the quality of the services offered to customers, he said through his press secretary at the end of the afternoon.

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