Business, labor want input
WCB needs a new chairperson

by Mark Sproxton
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 13/96) - Business and labor leaders say they should be involved in the selection of a new chair for the Workers Compensation Board. But it's not likely that will happen.

John Todd (left), minister responsible for the WCB, is currently reviewing resumes for the position but will hold no formal discussions with business or labor, Rick Bargery, Todd's executive assistant, said last week.

"Considering the WCB is funded by business and held in trust for workers, both sides should have a lot of say," said Jim Evoy, NWT Federation of Labor president. "Not to be consulted really doesn't speak well for democracy in the North.

"These people are elected to govern and not to rule."

Gabrielle Decorby agreed that allowing all parties to become involved could diffuse any animosity or misunderstanding that could creep into the process.

"(Consultation) is always a way to eliminate problems down the road," she said. "We are looking for leadership, not control."

Former chairman Jeff Gilmour accepted a position with the territorial government in October. Vice-chairman Gordon Wray is currently the acting chair.

Evoy said the labor community is concerned a "washed up politician will be appointed as chair and will follow" only the wishes of the government.

"It's not to say they're not going to put somebody responsible in there," we just would like an opportunity for input, said Decorby.

The territorial WCB is governed by seven board members appointed by the minister.

When the chair's position is vacant, the minister can appoint someone directly to the position, including an existing board member.

A decision on the new chair should be made by year's end, Bargery said.

Although this method has been used previously in the NWT to determine a new chair, Evoy said British Columbia uses a more acceptable approach.

In B.C. the board is appointed first, then finds a chairperson itself, he said.