The top official with the workers compensation review division is vowing to finish cases that had been assigned to attorney general Judy Manning within 60 days.
"We are doing everything we can within this organization and working with government to make sure that these cases are completed and that no one is waiting any longer than they necessarily have to,” chief review commissioner Marlene Hickey said.
As CBC Investigates revealed Wednesday, Manning oversaw hearings on 19 workers compensation appeals, but didn't file any decisions before leaving her post as commissioner in late September.
Some of those hearings were held as early as June.
Injured workers waiting for decisions on their appeals have complained about the delays.
Asked if she had a message for those affected workers, Hickey said: "Well, the first thing I would do is apologize, that they have had to endure this wait, and that they are affected by these circumstances."
Resigned 5 days before cabinet appointment
Manning, appointed to the justice and public safety portfolio last month, served five months as a review commissioner.
Commissioners oversee appeals from employers and injured workers, and make decisions on those cases.
Manning left the part-time post five days before she was elevated to cabinet. That appointment sparked controversy. Manning is not elected, and has said she won't run in any of the pending byelections.
In an interview with CBC Investigates, Manning rejected any suggestion that her track record as commissioner could look bad, given her current role as a senior cabinet minister.
"I'm entirely comfortable with how I've discharged my duties as a review commissioner and certainly to date I'm entirely comfortable with the energy and the enthusiasm that I've brought to this position,” she said.
“And I'm looking forward to continuing to execute in a similar manner."
Manning issued a statement late Wednesday, continuing to defend her time in the position.
"There is nothing unusual for a newly appointed, part-time commissioner to take longer than 60 days to finalize a case given the steep learning curve for many individuals who are appointed to the role," her statement noted.
Asked to assess Manning's handling of cases compared to other review commissioners, Hickey said: "The learning curve is very steep for review commissioners, and really Minister Manning's response to that training and moving forward into the cases that she did was no different than any other review commissioner."
Hickey did acknowledge, however, that she could not recall any circumstance where a commissioner did not file any reports during their time in the position.