Thousands of Nova Scotians in the lurch when WCB cheques delayed

Thousands of people across Nova Scotia are waiting for their workers compensation payments.

A problem with the payment system means cheques have been delayed for some people by close to a week.

When Marlene Young is short on cash at the end of a month, she does whatever she can to make up the difference.

“I either borrow from the neighbour, or borrow from my kids, or I start selling things I have in my house, just to keep me going,” Young said.

Young is one of thousands of people who receive benefits payments from the Workers Compensation Board in Nova Scotia.

Fourteen years ago, an injury to her knee left her unable to work.

She’s been receiving a monthly payment ever since, and should have seen the money in her bank account last week.

When it didn’t arrive, she started calling WCB.

“She says, ‘well, it’s going to be one to three business days,’ and I said, ‘what, from Friday?’ and she said ‘no, from today, so you’ll be lucky if you get your check on Friday,’” Young said. “So, now I have to turn around and call all these people I owe money to, like bill companies and the rent, and try to put them off for another three days.”

Young learned she was one of many people waiting for their payments.

The WCB says the issue started when they began upgrading their payment system to a cloud-based software.

“We realized early this week as we began to process payments that we were having some technical challenges in the data that as we were trying to share with our financial institution,” said Shelley Rowan of the Workers Compensation Board. “We’ve worked around the clock to resolve those problems.”

Rowan says the issues have been resolved and the money should go out as early as tonight.

“We really apologize for the impact this delay has caused,” Rowan said. “We know it’s had an impact on workers and their families.”

Young says the apology is nice, but the WCB should think about how to prevent these delays in the future.

“It’s the only income of the household, so it takes a big chunk out of rent and food,” she said. “And you expect it every single month at the same time.”

WCB says if people get NSF charges because of the delay, they should contact the board for a rebate.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.