Dunn, injured worker calling for system fix

The last five years have been one fight after the next for Darrell MacKinnon after a slip and fall left him unable to work and fighting with the Workers Compensation Board of Nova Scotia.

After slipping and falling on February 13, 2012, MacKinnon was told there was something wrong with his hip, shoulder and knees. After having surgery and being deemed healed by WCB MacKinnon was making no progress with his injuries.

“My walking and my balance wasn’t getting any better,” he said. After dealing with his health problems for a year and 10 months, still fighting to find out what may be wrong MacKinnon was terminated from his job.

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After professional consultations with neurologists MacKinnon’s lingering injury was deemed a workplace injury as a result of the fall, but WCB continuously denied it he claims.

“It’s almost as if you have two bad knees,” said MacKinnon. “You’re watching every step.”

When Pat Dunn, Pictou Centre MLA heard about MacKinnon’s story he had heard too many sharing the same complaints and concerns before. Dunn took the issue of what he has been hearing about the WCB and MacKinnon’s case to the Provincial Legislature to get answers from the Minister of Labour.

“When you start getting consistent stories of denials you have to question that,” said Dunn. When Dunn took the matter to the legislature he posed four questions to Labi Kousoulis, minister of labour.

The first question Dunn put forth was that when agents, employees and representatives of an organization are not held accountable for their actions unacceptable practices can become commonplace.

He then asked Kousoulis if he recognized that when someone unqualified disregards the opinion of a qualified professional would it not place that person outside of good faith.

Continuing on Dunn posed the question that what is happening to MacKinnon, whos case Kousoulis was familiar with, was morally wrong. Finally, Dunn requested that Kousoulis and members of the other party work to right the wrong that is happening to MacKinnon. Kousoulis told Dunn that they would look into MacKinnon’s case and have a third party step in if they saw any wrongdoing.

It was not long after this that Premier Stephen MacNeil announced that there would be an audit of WCB.

WCB communications advisor Jody Thomson said she was unable to comment on specific cases however in terms of the audit she said, “

With regards to the Auditor General, we welcome this review and will participate fully in it. We believe a third party review is an opportunity to identify areas for improvement. With that in mind, we will cooperate fully and work with the Auditor General’s representatives to make sure they have full access to the information they need to do their work.”

“At the end of it you go through all this process and it feels like you get kicked in the face,” MacKinnon said.

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Heather Brimicombe is a Pictou County native and graduate from the University of King's College in Halifax with a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree as well as a combined major in Sustainability. She has previously won a Canadian Communities Newspapers award for a multimedia feature and was part of a team nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalism data award in the investigative category. Photography, art, sports and outdoor activities are all hobbies of hers as well as crafting, and baking.