The family of an injured worker who committed suicide seven months after being discharged from the Workers’ Rehabilitation Centre in Grand Bay-Westfield is calling for a public inquiry into how WorkSafeNB manages mental illness.
“If they don’t go into [the claims process] with a mental disorder, they are coming out of it with a mental disorder,” says Rachel McKinnon, who found the body of her hanged father in the basement of his home.
McKinnon says 51-year-old Reginald Leblanc was a happy, kind, productive man until he was demoralized by WorkSafeNB and his treatment at the Workers’ Rehabilitation Centre (WRC).
Leblanc’s widow was left to grieve while being denied survivor benefits.
But that decision was overturned three months ago, when the Workers Compensation Tribunal reviewed the case and awarded Sandra Leblanc full compensation.
“That decision says to me that they’ve admitted they were responsible, in part, for his death,” says Leblanc, who was married to her husband for 36 years.
The appeals tribunal concluded that psychiatric treatment for Leblanc came too late during his physical injury treatment plan and rehabilitation.