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2013 Atlantic Journalism Awards Finalists


Date Aired or Published February 25, 2013
Media outlet where first aired or published: CBC New Brunswick
Name of Program: CBC News: New Brunswick
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Saint John
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

AJT2 ENTERPRISE Entry “Not Working” for Labour Reporting – Rachel Cave, CBC New Brunswick NOT WORKING was a multi part investigation of problems inside WorkSafe NB, New Brunswick's work place injury compensation system, by CBC New Brunswick's Rachel Cave. This submission includes the opening television and radio report in the series which aired February 25th, 2013. Comprising in all eight reports over three weeks, NOT WORKING revealed how non medical WorkSafe employees were routinely overruling doctors in the treatment of patients suffering workplace accidents and also denying compensation awards in large numbers to accident victims who were later found to have legitimate claims by the body's own appeals tribunal. The series also showed how savings from restricted benefits to injured workers had allowed workplace compensation premiums for employers to be lowered 40% in three years. Five months after the series aired the province announced a system wide review of the treatment of injured workers that is still under way. NOT WORKING relied on WorkSafe documents and interviews with doctors, injured workers, WorkSafe representatives and other interested parties to show how medical professionals had their assessments of injured workers "considered" in the selection of treatment options that often resulted in the rejection of the medical advice completely. One specialist claimed a 95% rejection rate of his treatment recommendations that compelled him to stop seeing injured workers, viewing it as a pointless exercise. The large scale rejection of injured workers' claims which were later found to be legitimate was also scrutinized in detail. All eight reports aired on television with radio versions, including extended interviews with Cave, playing on both morning and afternoon programs. Web stories during the series generated over 18,000 page views, including 6,700 the first day with large numbers of injured workers making direct contact with Cave to relate their own stories. The significance and impact of the reports eventually compelled WorkSafe's CEO and politically appointed Chairperson to give rare media interviews to Cave, to defend the organization and its practices. However, once New Brunswick's Legislature reconvened the Minister responsible for WorkSafe NB announced a comprehensive and independent review of the province's entire workplace injury compensation and rehabilitation system, the first in thirty years.

Resources of the newsroom (money and time) available to complete the story:

I worked on these items with one camera operator/editor on same-day turnarounds. No extra resources provided.

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