Sep 252018
 

By Gerald

The following story is indicative of a system that is totally broken when Case Managers, DRDRB are understaffed, under trained and do not have time to make reasonable and correct decisions, thus leading to simply denying a claim or benefits forcing workers to appeal  decisions that overload the Appeals Commission who then take months or years to provide a decision. This is not expedience which is one of the four fundamental principles of the workers compensation system. Undoubtedly this will get worse as the new legislation and policy comes into effect with many Case Managers not being aware of the major changes although most Case Managers, DRDRB and the Appeals Commissioners have no expertise in law or medicine and do not know how to interpret the old and existing legislation and policies. The whole system is nothing more than a gong show.

Workers’ Compensation workers from across Canada meet to discuss crushing workloads and the need for sweeping reforms for mental health injuries

PRESS RELEASE PR Newswire

Sep. 24, 2018, 02:37 PM

NIAGARA FALLS, ONSept. 24, 2018 /CNW/ – Representatives of the major unions representing Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) workers in Canada met to discuss issues that impact injured workers, employers and employees of workers compensation boards.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represent Workers’ Compensation employees in Canada’s ten provinces and three territories.

The conference focused on two primary issues affecting employees of WCB’s and injured workers alike. Sadly, unreasonable workloads are experienced by workers in multiple sectors across Canada. No one is immune from the negative health impacts of heavy workloads.

All employers including Canada’s Workers Compensation Boards have very specific legal duties to protect workers under health and safety legislation. Union representatives hold the view that “excessive workload” is a serious health and safety issue negatively affecting employee mental and physical well being.

The unions have decided to hold their respective Provincial Legislative bodies accountable for the lack of safeguards designed to protect working people from the devastating impact of excessive workload. Each compensation organization is full of talented professional staff that routinely put in more than an honest day’s work.

“It is inexcusable that staff are prevented from doing the kind of job that they are capable of because of employer indifference to creating manageable workloads.” said Tamara Elisseou president of CUPE 1866.

Lloyd Samson, president of Local 55 of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) said, “We want to ensure that the system remains focused on safety and prevention but ensures comprehensive and fair coverage for injured workers.”

Debbie Wallace, president of Local 2180 of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) said, “It is important that the views of the workers who are expected to operate the system be heard and respected. We are the workers who know where the system is flawed and how it could be improved for all workers in all sectors.”

“We leave this conference with the view that Provincial Governments must expand existing compensation legislation to help those suffering from the effects of work overload. Governments must also take tangible steps to strengthen prevention and enforcement in order to better protect the well being of all workers,” said CUPE 1750 president Harry Goslin of Ontario and host of the event.

SOURCE Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Aug 172018
 

This is a media item that gives a good sense of the human reality in Peterborough right now.  With a tremendous collective effort by many people who worked at GE, their families and many activists and supporters, a significant number of claims have been won.  But even more have been denied on reconsideration.  So there is much work to do.

WSIB is a nightmare, say former Peterborough GE workers and families

May 302018
 

http://rankandfile.ca/all-out-for-injured-workers-day/

Alberta WCB is still broken Bill 30 did nothing to help long term claims. Alberta injured workers do not have the support , manpower or finances to get out there and let the public know the suffering never ends.

For injured workers the reality is clear, the WSIB in Ontario is broken and the loss and pain is on the backs of injured workers.

So every June 1, injured workers and their allies rally at Queen’s Park for Injured Workers Day, to highlight the flaws of the compensation system and the fight we need to continue to bring to the Legislature and the Ministry of Labour.

With just a few days before the election, the rally and march is an opportunity to make a stand, not only for injured workers but for all workers and people concerned about social and economic justice, that we have had enough of austerity and cuts. The rally on June 1, will send a message that no matter who gets elected, the age of austerity is over.

We can be sure that if Doug Ford’s Conservative Party is elected, privatization of the workers’ compensation system will be on his agenda – just as he will push for privatization across the board. We know that if this happens, it is low-income, vulnerable, and marginalized people who will suffer. So the Injured Workers’ Day rally is part of the fightback. We will stand up and resist, and take back our compensation system

On the eve of June 1, the Women of Inspiration, a group which offers support, knowledge transfer, education and outreach to Women Injured at Work, gathers on the lawn of Queen’s Park for “Sleepless in Queen’s Park.” This overnight vigil provides a safe space for injured workers to share poetry and song, and to tell stories of their battles for fair compensation because, if “injured workers can’t sleep; how can their elected representatives?”

On the following day of June 1 at 11:30am, injured workers and advocates join the Women of Inspiration at Queen’s Park to rally for Injured Worker’s Day. Joined by labour and community allies, injured workers from across Ontario will take to the streets, marching on the Ministry of Labour, calling on the government to deliver fairness from the workers’ compensation system.

In its 35th year, the theme for this year’s Injured Workers Day is driven by the success and hard work of the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG). ONIWG is an umbrella organization of injured worker groups in communities spread throughout the province, campaigning on the theme that Workers’ Comp is a Right. This campaign is demanding the compensation system return to its roots as a system that provides support and support and care for workers who have suffered injuries or illnesses on the job. The key campaign demands for a system that protects everyone are:

  1. No cuts based on phantom jobs
    2. Listen to injured workers’ treating healthcare professionals
    3. Stop cutting benefits based on pre-existing conditions

Through province-wide education and action on these issues, injured workers have successfully pushed their demands onto the political radar. We have collected thousands of petition signatures supporting the campaign demands, and heard MPPs read out the petition dozens of times in the Legislature. We have seen the NDP include injured worker issues in its platform – the first time since 1990 that a political Party has talked explicitly about injured workers. We have seen new injured worker groups form in communities where they did not previously exist.

So we are building. And after years of austerity and cuts, the compensation system is broken and the time is now to pressure those in power to commit to fundamental changes to restore justice. Join us.

May 252018
 

The ONIWG Research Action Committee has put together a one page handout  in advance of June 1st, Injured Workers Day.  This infographic is based on research done by our committee as well as academic research.  Over the last seven years, the  Ontario WSIB has more than doubled its reserved funds while cutting benefits to workers in half – resulting in thousands of workers with a life long work related disability ending up in poverty.

We encourage you to share this info widely – to friends, family and co-workers – and use it as a handout on June 1st.  It can be used as a stand alone piece or you can print it two sided with the Workers Comp is a Right material or local information.

May 092018
 

By Gerald

Click on the following link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sick-worker-groundbreaking-case-wsib-benzene-1.4649680

Just as I predicted, sometime in the near future, providing presumptive status for any occupation rather than all occupations is discrimination and would come back and bite the goofs that voted for and passed legislation for firefighters, then extended this presumption to first responders. There is and never has been any evidence that firefighters or first responders have any higher risk than any other occupation when compared to the general public which is how epidemiological evidence is gathered and is why the National Academy of Science does not or will not use the general public as a reference in determining causation.

Seems like Ontario always has to lead the way as the people we elect to represent us in Alberta must have fallen off a turnip truck. While I am a born and raised in Alberta resident, my question to the Government is why is it that Alberta is not leading the way in workers compensation issues rather than being the follower even going so far as to adopt the Meredith Principles which initiated in Ontario. Perhaps, the Alberta Government would simply rescind all legislation providing differential treatment to one group of workers and bring in legislation providing presumptive status in all claims for all workers and force WCB to prove contrary which is the way that it was intended to be right from the beginning according to Dr. Terrance Ison who before his death was Canada’s leading expert in workers compensation issues.

Mar 132017
 

Many of you will by now have read the very important decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal on the class action brought against WSIB by Richard Fink. It can be found here:

https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/2017/2017onca121/2017onca121.html?autocompleteStr=castrillo&autocompletePos=1

I know that for some of us worker representatives working in the trenches, higher court decisions will seem of limited relevance. But this is not really the case. In truth, wherever we work in the justice system, ultimately we rely on the rule of law in Canada and Ontario. If that slips away on us, we will be in the situation where the arbitrary exercise of power will be much more difficult to challenge. So it’s important to read Castrillo; and now you can add to your reading list the beautiful and timely blog on the decision by Ron Ellis. It will help you understand the twists and turns of the Court of Appeal’s reasoning and the overall importance of the decision. We are fortunate to have the benefit in our area of law of Ron’s careful, reasoned and powerful mind going to work on this important decision, which has emerged at such a critical time for our workers’ compensation system.

Here is the link to Ron’s post. I’ve also pasted in the text at the end of this e-mail. However, I would urge you to go to Ron’s website, where you will find lots of high quality analysis not just in workers’ compensation but broadly in administrative law. Workers’ compensation is not alone in facing challenges to the rule of law.

https://administrativejusticereform.ca/wsib-and-the-ontario-court-of-appeal-decision-in-the-castrillo-class-action/

Thank you Richard for bringing this case forward and Ron for your important work elucidating it for us.