Justice for Injured Workers
This Document is designed to explain the petition and for reading use only.
The Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board has the responsibility to safeguard the health and well-being of injured workers and uphold their rights. These rights include the maintenance of the living standard the worker had before injury, suitable retraining for those who can no longer work in their old occupation, enforcement of the duty of employers to accommodate injured workers and full coverage for all the health needs of Injured Workers when they can no longer work.
These rights are being violated on a constant basis. WCB measures success by how quickly it can declare an Injured Worker fit to return to work and end benefits, not on the well-being of the Injured Worker. The end results are taxpayers footing the bill with programs like the Assured Income for the Severely Disabled. To implement this aim, WCB has put in place a system which monetarily rewards both WCB employees and health care practitioners for declaring a worker fit to return to work and closing the file.
Many workers are refused compensation based on an opinion from a physician the WCB has chosen. These bought opinions are substituted for clinical observation , diagnosis and real medical evidence provided by the Injured Worker’s treating physician(s) & expert specialists and determines whether a worker receives benefits. The WCB compensation system simply shows that the practice of medicine is not based on medical certainty or science. How can there be a difference of medical opinion when numerous doctors are either examining or reviewing the same medical evidence involving the same patient?
Medical Review Panels solve nothing as a MRP is a process involving more paid doctors with different opinions. The opinions provided do not have to be based on medical evidence, treating physicians and specialists reports nor clinical observation, treatments or medical science. The government has enacted legislation that these opinions are binding and leaves no recourse for the injured worker. Many of these paid physicians give a binding opinion in a field of medicine they have never practiced have no knowledge or seen a patient with these types of injury’s or diseases. Medical Commissioner and Medical panels should be abolished.
The WCB pays out millions of dollars for opinions. Many physicians have quit their practices as giving opinions is much more lucrative then treating patients with overhead costs.
Even those workers whose claims have been accepted are often reduced to a life of poverty. This is a result of the practice of “deeming.”
Compensation for loss of earnings is based on the difference between pre-injury earnings and the amount that injured workers are able to earn in suitable and available employment after their injury. However, the WCB deems most workers to have returned to paid, full-time employment after their injury, regardless of their real life situation. In reality, in many if not most instances, the worker is unable to get a job in the occupation for which they have been “deemed” capable. These jobs may not exist or there are no jobs in their community in the occupation cited, or no employer may be willing to hire them given their disability. When the WCB reduces Injured Workers benefits by overstating their earnings, it cheats them out of compensation that is justly owed. Many injured workers are told to lie to a future employer about their injury in order to get hired and spread the risk.
The non-economic loss payments paid to injured workers who suffer pain and disability. A worker with permanent total disability receives a payment of approximately $85,000 while a payment for partial permanent disability may be as low as $1,700.
These violations of workers’ rights are based on the outlook that Injured Workers are a “cost” and that the job of the WCB is to “keep costs down” for the employers. The WCB system provides employers cheap workers insurance at the expense of working people & families. We know that Alberta employers pay on average 50% less then all provinces in Canada.
This must be changed! Get involved to demand that WCB fulfills its obligations to care for Injured Workers.
An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
visit our website at www.canadianinjuredworkers.com
To Contact Injured Workers: [email protected]