She’s in the worker’s corner
Creating jobs for Islanders -
Maureen Peters likes a challenge, and she gets plenty in her role as Prince Edward Island’s worker advisor.
She acts as a free legal service – funded by employers -- that helps injured workers and their families navigate the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) appeals process. It is very busy but equally rewarding work, says the Clyde River native who is also a new mom.
“The best part of the job is the interaction, being able to help people,” Peters said.
Promoting safe workplaces and protecting worker’s rights is a big part of making sure our Island workforce can thrive. An active, engaged workforce enables local businesses to be more productive and expand, creating jobs for Islanders.
Peters has been in the role since 2009 and says it’s hard to guess how many Islanders she’s helped. But she remembers one who was just a teen when he was injured on the job.
His injuries were severe and his ongoing claim meant determining what his earning potential into adulthood could have been had the accident never happened. Her office worked collaboratively with the WCB to come up with a solution he was happy with.
“It can be an emotional time,” she said. "It can also be difficult to understand the appeals process. Sometimes they’re dealing with a denial at the outset of a claim or an issue throughout the life of a claim – we give them advice and represent them at either of those stages.”
The worker advisor’s activity has increased over time, resulting in a backlog of files that delayed many cases from being resolved. This year additional resources were added to Peters’ office to address the backlog, as well as to continue to the service while she is on parental leave. These resources have enabled a much faster pace of hearings into next spring.
“It really is a team effort,” she explains. “I’m so thankful to know that even though I’m away from the office, good people are carrying the load of the increased tempo of hearings.”
To help support workers even earlier in the claims journey, the worker advisor’s office is considering piloting an early intervention collaboration model with the WCB. They hope to have resources in place to launch this in the near future.
“If anyone has any questions about a claim, we are here,” Peters said. “They don’t have to go it alone.”