Welcome to the website of the Canadian Injured Workers Association of Alberta.
Are you looking for videos from our events? Information about our current and past actions? Visit How to Use This Site.
The Canadian Injured Workers Association of Alberta would like to thank the Alberta Federation of Labour for their sponsorship of this website.
What a wonderful Christmas it would be if here in Alberta we had support with health and safety, and the WCB. We can learn from Ontario.
Injured Workers Day of Action to Demand Better from WSIB in 2024
December 11, 2023
Local 195, 3400 Somme Ave. Windsor
The EPID@Work team has a number of exciting events in the coming weeks. First, we will be at the 31st annual Santa Claus Parade tomorrow (Saturday November 18) at 10:00 a.m. Come say hello to our staff and see our decorated research van! This event is in support of the Fort William Rotary Club; please consider donating to this wonderful cause.
We have our next EPID Talks event on December 7 from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST. The session will include a presentation by Dr. Vicki Kristman and Mannila Sandhu entitled “Navigating WCB-Funded Projects: Uncovering Workplace Factors Impacting Workers’ Compensation Outcomes.” Please find registration info on the attached poster or by clicking the link here. This is a hybrid event being offered both in-person at Lakehead University and via Zoom.
To see activity and justice in another province look under News – Ontario. We apologize for no updates in Alberta regarding the WCB and Appeals Commission. There appears to be not much interest in workers dealing with injuries, homelessness, and death – it’s been frustrating to garner support.
Injured Workers’ Stories
Below are links to John & Rose’s story – one of many on twitter, youtube and tiktok.
Injured workers and their families often feel ignored by the WSIB. Shortening time limits to object, from six months to one, doesn’t make it easier for them to be heard. Visit: https://wsib.ca/sites/default/files/2023-02/wsib_dispute_resolution_and_appeals_vfma_finalreport_november30.pdf… to see the other recommendations provided to the WSIB. #EnoughlsEnough
Institute for Work and Health News – October 2023
Workers are using cannabis to treat work-related conditions, mostly without medical guidance
The Lancet spotlights work as lever for improving public health
IWH Speaker Series: Three scenarios of a future working world for young adults with a disability
Do you have experiences to share regarding newcomers’ safety in the workplace?
Registration open for Disability and Work in Canada conference
OCRC releases report on advancing workplace exposure surveillance
Factors influencing FPE adherence among health-care workers: CREOD study
CRE-MSD webinar: Characteristics of work-related musculoskeletal upper extremity injury claims
Is there anyone wanting and willing to help workers in Alberta get their tragic stories out? if you know of any media coverage or someone in media with this interest, please contact us.
We launched the Injured Workers’ Stories Video Campaign on September 4th!
New Injured Worker features every week with daily short clips.
Getting good results so far ! :)
Please share campaign and videos
We are actively looking for Injured Workers’ to share their stories please contact Media Committee here : [email protected]
Please share far and wide!!!
Here is the post for the poster launch:
Who is Investigating Alberta’s Screw-Up?
ONIWG’s response to the Star’s article, “‘We screwed up:’ WSIB to pay out $42M after coding error shortchanged 100,000 injured workers — for 20 years”. This article highlights the WSIB’s “screw-up” but there are many more to bring to light.
September 13, 2023
Monte McNaughton Minister of Labour 400 University Avenue Toronto, Ontario
Delivered by E-mail
Dear Minister McNaughton,
Re: Injured Worker Cost of Living Adjustments
We read the Toronto Star article “‘We screwed up:’ WSIB to pay out $42M after coding error shortchanged 100,000 injured workers — for 20 years”. As you know because of a 2019 WSIAT decision, the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board determined that there was a coding error with respect to the calculation of cost-of-living increase. They corrected the error and as a result injured workers will get approximately $42 million dollars. This is a wonderful outcome, and we applaud the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board’s decision to admit to their error and rectify it.
We are writing you with respect to another situation where the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board is making a significant error with respect to the calculation of the annual cost of living increase.
In 2006 the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board changed its method of calculating the annual cost of living increases. Prior to this change the WSIB would use the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index from October of the previous year to October of the current year. After this change the WSIB decided to calculate the average Consumer Price index for the entire year and based the cost-of-living increase in the change in the average Consumer Price index from the current year to the past year.
There was no change in the legislation regarding indexing in 2006 that enabled such a change.
The indexing provisions of the Act are contained in section 49 of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act which states:
49 (1) Subject to subsection (2), on January 1 of every year, an indexing factor shall be calculated that is equal to the amount of the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Canada for all items, for the 12-month period ending on October 31 of the previous year, as published by Statistics Canada. 2015, c. 38, Sched. 23, s. 2.
(2) The indexing factor calculated under subsection (1) shall not be less than 0 per cent. 2015, c. 38, Sched. 23, s. 2.
The plain language of the Act clearly indicates that the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board’s change in its method of calculating the cost-of-living increase was contrary to the Act.
From a practical point of view from 2006 until 2021 the difference in methods did not have a large impact on injured workers benefits. During that time, the difference in benefits was .61% in favour of injured workers; that works out to $7.82 for every thousand dollar of benefits that an injured worker receives.
2021 and 2022 was characterized by rapidly increasing inflation. Between January 2021 to June of 2022 the inflation rate increased from 1.0% to 8.1%; since then, the inflation rate has dropped to 3.3% in July 2023.
This rapid increase in inflation has had a significant impact on the difference between the Board’s method of calculating the cost-of-living increase and the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act’s method of calculating the cost-of-living increase. In 2022 the Board’s method resulted in a 2.7% increase in benefits whereas the Act’s method mandated that the benefits should have increased by 4.7%; in 2023 the Board’s method resulted in a 6.5% increase in benefits whereas the benefits should have increased by 6.9%. This has resulted in injured workers getting 2.3% less in benefits than what the Act requires; this means that for every $1000 of benefits that an injured worker received in 2021, they receive $25.49 less in benefits than what the Act mandates them to receive.
There was no lawful basis for the WSIB, in 2006, to change the method of indexing. Therefore, we ask that you intervene in this to ensure that the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board follows the law and retroactively adjusts the cost-of-living increases to conform with the requirements of the Act.
Thank you very much for your time in this matter. Once again, we are requesting a meeting to discuss the concerns of injured and ill workers across Ontario as soon as possible. If you have any questions regarding this, you can contact Andrew C. Bomé who is a staff lawyer at Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and can be reached at (905) 527-4572 at extension 26.
Cc: Grant Walsh, Chair of Board of Directors, WSIB Jeffery Lang, President and CEO, WSIB
Joshua Workman, Chief of Staff, Minister of Labour
June 1 Injured Workers Day Coverage
NDP Injured Worker & WSIB Critic Lise Vaugeois makes a statement in the House on June 1st
West tables bill designating June 1 Injured Workers Day in Ontario: https://www.thesudburystar.com/news/local-news/west-tables-bill-designating-june-1-injured-workers-day-in-ontario
Read the Declaration: https://www.thunderbay.ca/en/news/injured-workers-day-2023.aspx
TV coverage of Thunder Bay Event: https://twitter.com/PhoenixRizin09/status/1664478189064794114?cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email
Worry over pending WSIB changes: https://kenoraonline.com/articles/worry-over-pending-wsib-changes
From the Ontario Federation of Labour:
Wow. What an Injured Workers Day that was! Here’s some updates, and pictures!
2. Janice gave an impassioned speech at a press conference on May 31st speaking against the KPMG report, organized by ONIWG and ONDP MPP Lise Vaugeois. See here for tweet, and stay tuned for the video clip to be released next week!
3. Here’s some pictures from Injured Workers Day – feel free to grab and share!: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-IkM6i_Zb-Xejzff4ks-3eI0hJSIhNUA?usp=sharing
40 stories and Referendum on stopping private hospitals
The 40 stories initiative is now up to nine audio & video stories. Below are a couple of links to view them and find out more. Please share widely.
Sign up to help out on June 1st, Injured Workers’ Day. Your story could be next. Get in touch if you want more info. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGTbIqlOl6iZNfEFeeWQkG3ts1qQrPAFD
The Ontario Health Coalition is holding a referendum/vote to try to stop Doug Ford and his Conservative government from opening up private for-profit clinics and hospitals to perform surgeries and diagnostics now done in our public hospitals. We cannot allow this attack on our public medicare system to succeed and we need everyone to VOTE NO in this referendum. You can do that by going to the website- publichospitalvote.ca.
Here are a couple of stories over the last week that might be of interest. You may want to reach out to these reporters and share your story as well. Also, links to the 40 stories websites.
Nicknamed Mr. Safety, my dad was my hero. Tragically, he was killed in a workplace accident
Short clips from the 40 stories project.
Stories from Injured Workers
You can view Janice Martell’s video – a short video of her dad’s story – dedicated to Day of Mourning, here: https://injuredworkersorganize.ca/stories
True toll of work-related death far exceeds WSIB allowed claims – April 24, 2023
Thousands of Ontarians die each year as a result of hazardous exposures at work. Though data published by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) would have us believe just 220 workers were killed in 2022. Many believe until the true toll of suffering is recognized and widely communicated, we will struggle to secure the workplace and regulatory actions critical to our shared goal of safer, healthier work.
Well in excess of 2,000 Ontarians died last year as a result of traumatic incidents and hazardous exposures at work, according to estimates supported by research evidence.
And even this alarming toll is a conservative estimate according to this same research evidence.
Still, Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) recognized just 220 worker death claims in 2022. Equally troubling, these WSIB death claims are often the default statistic shared when discussing the number of workers killed each year as a result hazardous work.
“This routine of under recognition in many ways is an affront to the suffering of workers, their families and communities,” explains Andrew Mudge, executive director, Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC). “Failure to shed light on the true toll of suffering serves only to downplay the collective need to more aggressively pursue safer, healthier work through enhanced regulations, stronger regulatory enforcement and ultimately workplace prevention efforts.”
Under recognition of occupational disease deaths
While most, if not all, traumatic deaths at work get reported to the WSIB, very few deaths caused by occupational disease are reported to or recognized by the WSIB. This is particularly the case for cancer, lung diseases and other chronic illnesses with long latency periods between workplace exposure(s) and disease onset. Consider, for instance, estimates suggesting between 600 and 5,000 Ontarians died in 2022 from work-related cancer alone.
Under recognition of occupational injuries and illnesses
The experiences of workers and research evidence also suggest significant under reporting and recognition of injuries and illnesses including mental injuries, violence, along with COVID-19 and other respiratory infections caused by workplace transmission. Ontario-based and globally recognized, Institute for Work and Health (IWH) has been studying this issue for decades and believe somewhere between 40 and 60 per cent of potentially compensable conditions are typically not reported to the WSIB and other provincial compensation authorities.
Truth be told this Day of Mourning
“We recognize it is not the mandate of the WSIB to capture the true toll of suffering,” explains Mudge. “We also recognize though a more accurate picture of worker deaths, injuries and illnesses must be prioritized and widely communicated.”
Sharing this true toll of suffering is critical to inform the public, government regulators, employers and others of the full impact of unsafe and unhealthy work and lend some urgency to the pursuit of prevention.
“This will be one of our priorities on April 28 as we take a moment to reflect on all lives lost and the many who suffer injury and illness as a result of hazardous workplace exposures,” says Mudge. “Though equally important the Day of Mourning affords us all the opportunity to re-evaluate and recommit to the many priorities we must act on to help workers not only survive, but to thrive.”
April 28 is Canada’s National Day of Mourning to remember workers who have lost their lives or suffered an injury or illness as a result of their work.
To learn more.
WHSC fact sheet A More Accurate Picture of Workers Disability, Disease and Death
WHSC Day of Mourning 2023 resources, including a province-wide event listing
Call: WHSC training services representative in your region.
Email: [email protected]
Connect with and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
Interview with NDP Critic for WSIB & Injured Workers
The Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic’s recommendations on the WSIB’s communicable illnesses draft policy
IWC’s detailed submission and recommendations (available in PDF and DOC formats).
Submission of the OLCWCN (Ontario Legal Clinics’ Workers’ Compensation Network).
Injured Workers Day in Ontario on June 1
I hope you all have June 1st marked in your calendar for Injured Workers Day! It will be the 40th anniversary of the crucial fight.
The planning committee is hoping to feature 40 stories from injured workers. As we all know, sharing experiences is what makes us connect on issues.
If you know of any members or non-unionized workers who could share their story, please contact Francis Pineda from IWC at [email protected]
Stay tuned for more details for June 1st!
All the best,
Director of Health, Safety and Environment
Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)