Real-world perspective helps transform WCB systems

Margaret MacKenzie giving a presentation to colleagues about the new Guidewire system.

Margaret MacKenzie giving a presentation to colleagues about the new Guidewire system.

STRATEGIC GOAL: Provide excellent and efficient service leveraging technology to meet worker and employer expectations

For Margaret MacKenzie, Latisha Hubley and Tracey Newman, working life changed in a big way in 2018.

About two years ago, they, and some other colleagues, set aside their day-to-day roles to work full-time on the biggest transformation project in the history of WCB Nova Scotia.

WCB is replacing its antiquated systems with a cloud-based world-class software suite. As subject matter experts (SME), Margaret, Latisha and Tracey provide real-world guidance about what will work – and what won’t – from the viewpoint of the people who will use the new core system when it’s ready.

I admire WCB for asking subject matter experts from the floor to be part of developing and building our new system. It shows we value the people who actually work with our stakeholders.
— Margaret MacKenzie
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The experience has been challenging, rewarding, and eye opening, says Margaret, a case manager who has worked at WCB Nova Scotia since 1992. “I would have had no idea what goes into a project of this magnitude without experiencing it myself. I admire WCB for asking subject matter experts from the service teams to be part of developing and building our new system. It shows we value the people who actually work with our stakeholders.”

Latisha Hubley brings her expertise as a benefits administrator to help make decisions on how the system can be enhanced. “The new core system will equip our caseworkers, return-to-work assistants, and phone representatives with better tools to assist our customers more efficiently and consistently,” she says.

The new core system will equip our caseworkers, return-to-work assistants, and phone representatives with better tools to assist our customers more efficiently and consistently.”
— Latisha Hubley

Our Progress


  • Continued to grow usage of WCB Online by workers, employers and service providers through enhancements and engagement.
  • Continued preparing our people, our systems, and our service approaches, for major change, while maintaining strong employee engagement survey results, as well as worker and employer satisfaction.
  • Entered the final stages of implementation of Guidewire, an industry-leading cloud-based program to power our claims and assessment systems, and support better customer service.

Our Plans


  • Launch Guidewire and support our people and those we serve through the implementation and changes to processes. As part of that, improve the MyAccount online employer service portal and complete our modernization plan.
  • Explore our overall digital presence as it relates to our new online services and data capabilities.
  • Begin implementation process for recommendations from the Auditor General’s report.

Customized by the people who do the work

Tracey Newman is the WCB Business Lead on the project. “Although it’s an off-the-shelf system, it’s been configured for the work we do by the people who do it,” she says. “It’s important that WCB employees understand the significance and the effort the project team has put in to ensure that they and their colleagues can better serve workers and employers.”

As liaison between the technical teams and WCB, Mahendra Prashad of Ernst and Young, ensures the teams work together in a cohesive way.

“You wouldn’t be able to do a transformation without subject matter experts,” he says. “For us to get from point zero to a successful go-live implementation, these employees are paramount. They understand the nuances of the specific business, how their current system works, what the regulatory requirements are, and how the new system could improve current processes.”

As Vice President People and Change at WCB Nova Scotia, Wendy Griffin is the executive sponsor of the organization’s five-year business transformation. The decision to put some of WCB’s most experienced people on the project was tough, she admits, because these are also the people you want on your front line. “The service delivery and prevention team’s flexibility in freeing up great people has been an important success factor for the project,” she says.

Subject matter experts are not only the voice of WCB employees, they are advocates for the people WCB serves, Wendy explains. “They act as bridges back to their colleagues, helping them understand the changes but also bringing that experience of the workers and employers we serve.”