Province Reimburses Widows for Unpaid Benefits

April 19, 2013

More than 100 Nova Scotian women whose husbands died on the job will be reimbursed for benefits they were denied because they remarried before April 17, 1985.

“Every woman whose husband was killed on the job deserves to be treated fairly and compensated properly,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Frank Corbett. “In the past, that didn’t happen. That’s not acceptable and we’re doing something about it because it’s the right thing to do.”

In 1999, the province changed legislation so remarried women continued to receive their survivor’s benefits, retroactive to the date of their remarriages. Benefits for women who remarried before 1985, were only retroactive to 1999. Mr. Corbett introduced changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act today, April 19, to ensure those women also get full retroactive benefits.

The deputy premier credited Betty Bauman of Glace Bay for leading the group of women fighting for this change. Ms. Bauman’s husband died in a coal mine in 1960, leaving her, at 26, alone with three young daughters.

“It means so much to me and my children to finally receive this compensation,” said Ms. Bauman. “After so many years, I’m incredibly grateful the province is making this decision. This compensation means so many of us aging women will be able to afford to stay in our homes and take care of our families.”

Four other provinces have paid back these benefits.

Most of this compensation will come from the Workers’ Compensation Board accident fund, which covers workers injured on the job. Employers who self-insure, like the province of Nova Scotia, will be responsible for their portion of the cost