Jul 122021
 

A teenager burst into a ‘ball of flame’ on the job at a service station. His quest for justice took decades

Here is a Star piece on a wonderful victory for a worker who was terribly burned at work as a 15 year old in 1949 but denied entitlement at the time.  The worker is now 87 years old.  So he had to make his way through life with little support for the impact of his burns, physically, psychologically, and more generally on his opportunity to live a full life and achieve his potential.  
 
You will see from the article that the claim was originally denied on a restrictive review of the evidence of whether the worker was working for a covered employer.
 
Odoardo di Santo, former NDP MPP and Chair of WSIB, and Elie Martel, former NDP MPP and occupational health and safety critic, worked tirelessly on behalf of this worker.  I worked with them as well.  It was denied by the WSIB, which upheld the original decision that the worker was not working for a covered employer.  The initial appeal to WSIAT was unsuccessful but in a rare occurrence, Odoardo won the appeal on a reconsideration.  This shows the value of having adjudicators at WSIAT willing to look deeply into the realities of workplaces and interpret the provisions of the Act in the remedial way that was intended.
 
This worker should never have had to endure all of this.  But it’s also vindication and shows that we can win important victories.
 
Congratulations Odoardo and Elie for staying the course in your careers and for standing in solidarity with this worker.
 
And many thanks, still again, to Sara Mojtehedzadeh of the Star for giving people a window into working class realities, what people have endured, and their individual and collective struggles for justice.  

A teenager burst into a ‘ball of flame’ on the job at a service station. His quest for justice took decades