Past News

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Tony Mauro, a great injured worker activist

Many injured workers in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond have come to know Tony Mauro. He passed away and he will be remembered with pride.  Visitation for family and friends (after private cremation a day earlier) is Sunday October 16, 2-6 pm at Holy Cross Funeral Home, 211 Langstaff Rd. East, Thornhill Ontario. Link will be posted at www.catholic-cemeteries.ca in the obituaries section – for those unable to be there.

Tony was dignity.  He’d routinely introduce himself as: “my name is Tony, injured worker – NOT a criminal”.  That introduction resonated each time.  It summed up all the pride and dignity of injured workers feeling that the system had cast them as the enemy, as the “criminal”.

Tony showed us that the law can be changed, even if led by an injured worker who is weakened by injury and does not have a computer. He led a 20 year battle to reverse the WSIB claw back of Old Age Security benefits.  He was supported by ONIWG and IWC in this long fight that eventually changed the law and eliminated the claw back. A key turning point was when he showed up, unannounced, at the Toronto Star building, walking gingerly with a cane, barely making it through the doors, but asking for an interview. No prior call, no press release. This caught the attention of the Star, which eventually ran a story that raised the profile of the issue. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/10/31/older_recipients_face_wsib_clawbacks_equal_to_old_age_security_increases.html MPP  Laura Albanese proposed several private members’ bills to resolve the issue, to no avail, but pushed on. Injured worker and Italian community pressure continued.  Finally, the Wynne government eliminated the claw back in its dying days, returning all the “stolen money” to Tony and many other injured workers in the same situation.  We all celebrated the achievement, and realized, once again, that “fighting works” even when times seem dark. 

Tony comes from a long tradition of worker activism.  His original injury was in 1966 (yes,1966!) when he “broke his back” working in construction.  He was part of the great upsurge of injured worker activism among construction workers in the GTA, many of whom spoke Italian, who built homes, office towers and paved streets.  When injured workers assembled in mass at Queen’s Park on June 1, 1983, he read a poem that summed up all the frustration, loss and aspiration of these workers.  Here it is:

The Injured Workers, by Antonio Mauro

O Canada, we gave you the very best

This we say with pride

We gave you nothing but the best

We gave you our blood, our bones, our flesh

We made you the most beautiful

We made Toronto the queen of cities

We built office towers and homes

O Canada, you are the envy of all

O Canada, we built you up

Our blood is mixed into your cement

We are but innocent victims

Of a progress we paid dearly for

Mothers destroyed by pain

Spouses staring at loss

Children without a parent

What else do you want?

The day of our injury

Was the loss of human rights

Not even our Canada Pension Plan

Wants our contributions now

No compensation for pain

Charity from month to month

Looked upon from provincial lenses

But are we not perfectly Canadian?

A life of hell

Confined to the margins of society

Was this justice denied?

Why the trip from pride to begging?

O Canada, we gave you so much

Why so much cruelty in return?

Are we just an old tool

Good yesterday, garbage today?

Hey ALBERTANS – friendly reminder:

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All 


The AODA Alliance Submits a Brief 5-Page Brief to the House of Commons, Urging that It Strengthen the Weak Bill C-22, the Proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act

October 27, 2022

SUMMARY

We’ve just shrunk the AODA Alliance brief to Parliament on Bill C-22, the proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act, down to a mere five pages! We set it out below. Bill C-22 does not ensure that anyone will ever receive a dime as a Canada Disability Benefit. It cuts out almost one third of people with disabilities over the age of 15, no matter how poor they are. It leaves all decisions over the Canada Disability Benefit to the federal Cabinet, discussing and voting in secret. It would let a future Cabinet gut the Canada Disability Benefit in secret as well, without a single word or vote in public. People with disabilities languishing in poverty deserve better.

The House of Commons will not accept a brief that is longer than five pages! This brief includes all the major points in the longer October 17, 2022, AODA Alliance brief on Bill C-22.

Can you believe it? This is really a brief! That ruins our reputation for briefs that are not very brief!

Please write huma@parl.gc.ca the Standing Committee of the House of Commons that is about to hold hearings on the weak Bill C-22. Please support the AODA Alliance’s October 27, 2022 brief on Bill C-22. Tell HUMA to let the AODA Alliance make an oral presentation during the Standing Committee’s public hearings. We have asked to be able to do so but have not heard if we will be given that opportunity.

You can catch up on all our activity to strengthen this weak bill! Visit the AODA Alliance website’s Bill C-22 page.

MORE DETAILS

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Website: www.aodaalliance.org Contact: aodafeedback@gmail.com

Strengthen Bill C-22! 

The AODA Alliance, a non-partisan grassroots cross-disability coalition, advocates for accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities. We have had a major impact on Ontario’s and Canada’s accessibility legislation.

It is great that the Government committed to create a national Canada Disability Benefit. However, under the weak Bill C-22, no people with disabilities may ever receive a Canada Disability Benefit, no matter how impoverished. It could be a pittance. It could be cut or reduced at any time. Bill C-22 should be substantially strengthened and then quickly passed. Our 12 recommendations will fix it. We cannot just hope that Cabinet promptly passes good regulations, and that no future Cabinet undoes them.

It is inexcusable that some people with disabilities have said that because of their abject poverty, they are turning to or considering doctor-assisted suicide to cope with their hopeless plight. Parliament acted far more swiftly to amend the Criminal Code to broaden the power of physicians to assist people with disabilities to commit suicide. Parliament should act much more quickly to pass effective legislation that makes it easier to live with a disability.

  1. The Bill Wrongly Excludes Almost One Third of People with Disabilities Age 15 or Older from the Canada Disability Benefit Solely Because of Age.

The bill cuts out children, youth and seniors with disabilities, solely because of their age. This rejects almost one third of all people with disabilities age 15 or older from the Canada Disability Benefit. Poverty does not end at age 65. Income supports for seniors have not eliminated poverty among seniors with disabilities. Disproportionately, seniors have disabilities. People with disabilities disproportionately are seniors.

We therefore recommend that:

#1. The bill should be amended throughout to delete the words “working-age.” 

  1. The Bill’s Purpose is Impoverished

The bill’s impoverished purpose merely attempts to “reduce” poverty for those people with disabilities that it covers. The slightest inconsequential reduction of poverty for those poor people would fully achieve this weak objective. It does not require disability poverty to be eliminated, or even cut in half or by one quarter. This purpose sets no deadline. Generations of people with disabilities could be left languishing in poverty.

 A significant improvement to the Accessible Canada Act at the insistence of the disability community was the addition of the 2040 deadline for Canada to become accessible to people with disabilities. The lack of such a deadline was widely condemned by disability advocates throughout public hearings on that bill in the House of Commons and Senate.

We therefore recommend that:

#2. Section 3 should be amended to:

  1. Substantially strengthen the bill’s purpose, so that its purpose is to achieve the elimination of poverty by people with disabilities, or to substantially reduce it, or at the very least, to cut it in half, and
  2. To set a deadline for achieving the bill’s purpose, such as within ten years.
  1. No Person with a Disability is Guaranteed that They Are Eligible for the Canada Disability Benefit

The bill wrongly establishes no eligibility criteria at all. Under it, no people with disabilities, including no working-age people with disabilities, are entitled to a Canada Disability Benefit. It delegates to Cabinet the sweeping discretion to set the eligibility criteria through regulations.

Cabinet’s eligibility regulations could substantially reduce which people with disabilities are entitled to the Canada Disability Benefit to an even smaller proportion of people with disabilities than those which the bill includes within the term “working-age people with disabilities.”

Those regulations are not subject to any public debates, public hearings, or public votes. Even in a minority government, the opposition is entirely excluded from this process. People with disabilities won’t know from one year to the next what benefits they can expect to receive. At a secret Cabinet meeting, a subsequent Cabinet or Government could arbitrarily and unilaterally gut the eligibility requirements that a previous Cabinet had established. It could also do that with no public debate, public hearings, public vote, or participation by any opposition parties.

We therefore recommend that:

#3. Section 4 should be amended to:

  1. Set mandatory statutory criteria for who is eligible for the Canada Disability Benefit. 
  2. Ensure that if any limited discretion is granted to Cabinet to enact regulations on eligibility criteria, those regulations must be strictly limited. They must not override the mandatory criteria to be set out in the bill itself or disqualify persons with disabilities from the benefit, who meet the bill’s statutory criteria.
  1. The Bill Does Not Guarantee a Minimum Amount of the Canada Disability Benefit

The bill does not set out the actual amount of the Canada Disability Benefit, or fix a minimum floor amount below which it cannot be dropped. It gives Cabinet complete open-ended discretion to set it as high or low as it wishes. It could be as low as $1 per month. The bill lets Cabinet reduce it whenever it wishes, in secret, without any public debate or vote.

The bill does not require any fixed timeline for the amount to be reconsidered or raised. It provides no protection against it being reduced. It does not require the Canada Disability Benefit to annually be indexed to inflation. It provides no public accountability for any of this. It is a blank cheque handed to Cabinet to give people with disabilities as little as Cabinet wishes.

We therefore recommend that:

#4. The bill should be amended to:

  1. Set a mandatory minimum amount for the Canada Disability Benefit in the legislation, and provide that the Canada Disability Benefit can not be lowered by regulation.
  2. Require Cabinet to annually review the Benefit’s amount, according to strict criteria to be spelled out in the bill, solely tied to the bill’s goal regarding disability poverty.
  3. Require public accountability and openness in connection with the review of the amount, with the outcome to be announced within a prompt legislatively set timeline.
  4. Require Cabinet to annually raise the amount of the Canada Disability Benefit at least to accord with the inflation rate for the previous year.
  1. The Bill Does Not Ensure that People with Disabilities Will Have a Swift, Fair, Accessible, Non-Bureaucratic Process to Apply for the Canada Disability Benefit or Appeal a Refusal

The bill does not establish the process for people with disabilities to apply for the Canada Disability Benefit, or to appeal a refusal. It is important for these to be fair, accessible, swift, easy to navigate and non-bureaucratic. 

We therefore recommend that:

#5. The bill should be amended to establish a swift, fair, barrier-free, easy to navigate and non-bureaucratic process for people with disabilities to apply for the Canada Disability Benefit, and to appeal any refusal.

  1. The Bill Wrongly Gives Cabinet Power to Create Prosecutable Offences

Section 11(q) gives Cabinet the extraordinary power to create a host of prosecutable offences. Conviction could lead to a fine and/or imprisonment. If there are to be any new offences for which a person can be prosecuted, convicted and then fined or sent to prison, it should be Parliament that creates them, and not Cabinet, debating and voting in secret. The intrusive power to create a prosecutable offence that can lead to imprisonment is the most intrusive power that Parliament has.

We therefore recommend that:

#6. The Bill should be amended to remove Cabinet’s power to pass regulations that create prosecutable offences. Any offences should only be created by the bill itself.

  1. The Bill Guarantees No Date for the Bill to Come into Force and for the Canada Disability Benefit to Become Available to People with Disabilities 

Section 14 of the bill leaves it to Cabinet to decide when, if ever, this bill will come into force. It sets no timelines for the Disability Benefit to become available. It sets no timelines by when necessary regulations must be passed.

People with disabilities waited far too long for a Canada Disability Benefit. We pressed for the Accessible Canada Act to include mandatory timelines. Despite this, very few were included. As a result, progress under that legislation has been painfully slow. People with disabilities should not face the risk of similar delays under this bill.

We therefore recommend that:

#7. Section 14 should be amended to provide that the bill comes into force no later than three months after Parliament passes the bill.

#8. The bill should be amended to set a deadline for the Canada Disability Benefit to become available.

#9. The bill should be amended to set mandatory deadlines for necessary regulations to be enacted.

  1. The Bill Guarantees the Disability Community No Meaningful Voice in this Bill’s Implementation

It is very good that the bill’s preamble refers to the importance of the Government engaging with people with disabilities when it implements this bill. However, nothing in this bill implements that. For example, all Cabinet’s powers under this bill, exercised in secret, with no public debate or vote, contradicts those good thoughts.

We therefore recommend that:

#10. The bill should be amended to require effective input from people with disabilities, and especially from those living in poverty, without creating months or years of further delays in the Canada Disability Benefit being paid to people who desperately need it.

  1.  The Bill Should Be Subject to Periodic Mandatory Independent Reviews, But Not by a Parliamentary Committee Which May Never Be Appointed

It is good that this bill would be reviewed over time. However, the first review should take place three years after it is enacted, not five. Moreover, the review should be conducted by an independent person appointed for that purpose, and who must hold public hearings, not a committee of Parliament. There is no way for people with disabilities to force Parliament to ever appoint a review committee if the Government of the day does not establish one. Moreover, in a majority government situation, a parliamentary committee is fully controlled by the majority party in the House. This provides no independent check or balance.

We therefore recommend that:

#11. Section 12 should be amended to require an Independent Review to be conducted by an independent person, appointed for that purpose, who has a duty to consult people with disabilities and to hold public hearings, with the first such review to begin within three years after the bill is passed.


Bill C-22 – The Canada Disability Benefit

On Sept, 20, the Canada Disability Benefit (Bill C-22) received Second Reading in the House of Commons. 

The bill has the potential to improve the financial security of people with intellectual disabilities in Canada. If successfully passed, the legislation will provide working age people with a disability in Canada with a monthly payment to support the additional costs of living with a disability in Canada. People with disabilities live disproportionately in poverty compared to people without disabilities in Canada. This disparity is growing wider and wider as inflation and the cost-of-living has increased dramatically in the recent months.

It is now up to our elected Members of Parliament to pass this legislation to make it a reality. We need your help to request your MP to support Bill C-22. We are requesting that they collaborate in a non-partisan way and unanimously fast-track this legislation. 

People with intellectual disabilities and their families need income security now.  We need our collective advocacy to deliver this message and we need your help.   

How you can help:

·     Click here to find your Member of Parliament 

·     Send a letter or phone your Member of Parliament and tell them why we need the Canada Disability Benefit. Click here for a template letter you can use

Press Release: Parliament Returns to Debate Bill C-22 – The Canada Disability Benefit

Looking for more information about the benefit? Check out our press release about Bill C-22 and Parliament’s first session back from the summer.

The release details the importance of the benefit and why Inclusion Canada wants MPs to prioritize and fast-track this bill

Read the release here. >

Karla Verschoor on Bill C-22 

Yesterday morning, Inclusion BC’s Executive Director, Karla Verschoor, was interviewed by CBC on what Bill C-22 is, why it’s important for people with a disability and their families, and the next steps in making the benefit a reality. 

Listen here. >


ONIWG continues to speak out on key issues facing injured workers


Ontario Injured Workers Day 2022 – Lively Online Rally and Town Hall Celebrate Collective Fight for Rights


Migrant Workers Hold Militant Action at Workers’ Compensation Office


Ontario Injured Workers Day 2022: Women of Inspiration Hold Online Vigil


 A systematic problem – Alberta included. 

In the News May 24

Ontario Election 2022

Life and Death Demands of Injured Workers

In this election, the demands of injured workers are very important. June 1 is marked every year as Injured Workers’ Day in Ontario. This year, an issue of major concern is the unacceptable discrepancy between the official data released by governments and compensation boards, such as Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and the actual data that exists on the number of work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

This year, for example, the Workers’ Health & Safety Centre (WHSC), which carries out a lot of research and trains workplace representatives, wrote that while the official WSIB-recognized worker death claims for 2020 was 324, its own estimate is at least 3,240. The WSIB also officially reported that there were 153,193 injury and illness claims, while the Centre’s estimate was 310,000. The Centre also reported that most deaths, injuries and illnesses caused by exposure to work-related hazards are never reported or recognized by the WSIB. The same applies to COVID-19 infections and deaths, as well as mental health problems, which have skyrocketed as a result of the failure by governments and big business interests to look after the human factor at work. This is especially the case under pandemic conditions.

Research undertaken at the University of Ottawa has produced similar results country-wide. Researchers have confirmed what workers have proven with their lives, that the annual fatality numbers are generated via a system that was never intended to track workplace death, but only includes workplace fatalities that are compensable. There is constant pressure from governments and compensation boards which serve narrow private interests to reduce recognized and compensable workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

The pressure on workers not to report injuries and illnesses has also increased, along with legal challenges to the claims workers are putting forward for recognition and compensation. The latest criminal activity in this regard is the decision of the Ontario government to refund the so-called surplus funds in the compensation system to major employers even though the source of this “surplus” is the massive cuts to compensation for injured workers who are being pushed further into poverty.

A corrupt system has been developed by successive governments, particularly since the launch of the anti-social offensive over 30 years ago, whereby compensation for workers injured or made ill on the job is considered a cost to be reduced because it hinders the ability of narrow private interests to reap maximum profit.

It is sad but true that no Ontario government, at least over the last 30 years, has done its duty to protect workers and recognize the right of workers to safe and healthy working conditions and to compensation when harmed. Far from it – the situation of injured workers has steadily worsened.

It is only through the resolute struggle of workers, including the defence organizations of injured workers such as the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG), that workers’ dignity and rights have been defended.

Not only are these organizations fighting against attacks on injured workers, they are also presenting demands and solutions based on the defence of workers’ rights. ONIWG has a series of demands, the three main ones in the immediate term being: No Cuts to Benefits Based on Phantom Jobs!, Listen to the Health Care Professionals Treating Injured Workers! Stop Cutting Benefits Based on “Pre-existing Conditions”!

In the fall of 2021, the Occupational Disease Reform Alliance (ODRA) was founded. The Alliance is made up of groups dealing with occupational disease clusters throughout Ontario, such as Sarnia/Chemical Valley, mining communities and others in which exposure to toxic products has created deadly occupational diseases over the decades. The Alliance is demanding recognition and compensation. Its demands include, among others, compensation for occupational disease claims where workplace patterns exceed levels in the community and the expansion of the list of occupational diseases presumed to be work-related.

These are injured workers’ organizations and their allies speaking out in their own name, doing their own research, holding forums and demonstrations, and not letting the mantra of “serving the economy” be used against their demands for justice and rights that belong to them as injured workers and as human beings. It is the workers of Ontario who create the province’s social wealth through their labour within a system that they do not control. It is therefore the responsibility of that system and its representatives to provide healthy and safe conditions and ensure that those who are injured or become ill, or the families of workers who lose their lives, have a Canadian standard of living as a matter of right. Otherwise “serving the economy” is simply a cover-up by all governments implementing the anti-social offensive to serve the rich at all costs and leave people to fend for themselves.

The work that injured workers and their organizations are doing by speaking in their own name in this election is the way to go. It is also the way to prepare and train a force of worker politicians who will run for election so that the legislature is comprised of people who are not beholden to the cartel parties. These cartel parties form governments and pass anti-worker laws, make promises and claim to have policy objectives that sound good but can be abandoned at any time through pretexts such as the “economic crisis” or the “pandemic.” The life and death demands of injured workers need true representation under the control and decision-making power of the workers themselves.

This is how the situation can be changed and the problems resolved in a way that favours the people.

Ontario Political Forum, posted May 24, 2022.
https://cpcml.ca/itn220524-opf-art3/


Another good article on occupational disease and the compensation system and # 12 in the series by Maia Foulis.  

In the article, Maia writes:

Reporting on these historic exposures has opened my eyes to the injustice that these workers and their families have faced – and are still facing.

The system needs to do better to acknowledge these realities of occupational diseases:

  • That many of the workers affected come from lower income backgrounds, and may face additional hardships if they are women or are racialized workers. They may struggle to access the funds needed to take legal action or fight claim denials. They may fear speaking up in case they lose their job and their source of income.
  • That there is a lack of research and thus understanding of the way these exposures affect the human body. While the idea that there is a latency period is widely accepted, there is still little to no research being done into the cumulative effects of these exposures. In many of these workplaces, workers were exposed to a wide array of different substances. Sure, our understanding of asbestos or silica exposure has improved, but how about exposure to asbestos AND silica AND other toxic substances?
  • That what happened to these workers was quite simply unfair. Though our understanding of hazardous substances is far more advanced nowadays, workers back in the day largely didn’t know that they were being harmed. It was an invisible danger. They deserve a voice and a system that works in their favour and holds the companies responsible for these exposures accountable – something which they have largely evaded.

https://www.thesafetymag.com/ca/topics/injuries-and-fatalities/safety-corner-the-compensation-system-is-flawed-we-need-to-fix-it/326815


What does a “fair hearing” mean to you? 
Survey of Injured Workers about Appeal hearing formats
As we move out of pandemic precautions and back into a face to face world, the tribunals that make major decisions in our lives – workers compensation, human rights, social assistance, evictions, and others – are wondering what format to use for hearings in the future. They have been using written, telephone and video hearings during the pandemic. This has proven to be faster, cheaper and easier than traditional in-person hearings, but is it fair?
 
Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic would like to know what injured workers think. What does a “fair hearing” mean for you? We will bring your views to our discussions with WSIB and WSIAT.

Please take 2 minutes and complete this anonymous survey clicking here.

We thank you for your input.

Member of the Legislative Assembly Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) Service Review Input Committee Final Report. October 2000

WCB Appeal Systems: Are They Working Well? Final Report. November 2000 

Both of the above are PDF downloads.


Let’s celebrate our victories! (video from the CLC)


Occupational exposure series: Once-thriving industry leaves hundreds of workers ill, battling for compensation


At least 107 Ontario workers have died from COVID-19 they caught at work – Results from a Freedom of Information request shows that 40 workers in Toronto alone died from COVID-19 they contracted on the job. – By Nora Loreto (December 20, 2021)

About the newly formed Occupational Disease Reform Alliance (ODRA):        https://cpcml.ca/WF2021/Articles/WO081123.HTM

About the Submission on Bill 27 from IWC:  https://cpcml.ca/WF2021/Articles/WO081122.HTM

Bill 27 overview: https://cpcml.ca/WF2021/Articles/WO081121.HTM


In 2002, the owners of the mill in Dryden, Ont. started a project to reduce emissions, but workers on the construction project complain that they were exposed to toxic chemicals that damaged their health. CTV’s W5 spoke with some of the workers about what they went through.


Please share with Alberta’s Ombudsperson

Ombudsperson: Permit WorkSafeBC to voluntarily make payments for its own errors

THE Ombudsperson is calling on the province to fix a rarely occurring but significant gap in B.C.’s #workerscompensation law https://voiceonline.com/ombudsperson-permit-worksafebc…/ “Severed Trust: Enabling #WorkSafeBC to do the right thing when its mistakes hurt #injuredworkers arose” from a case where errors made by WorkSafeBC terminating the benefits of an already #injuredworker directly led to a second, more serious injury resulting in a partial amputation of a worker’s hand. After the second accident, WorkSafeBC’s Review Division ruled that it was wrong to have terminated the injured worker’s benefits following the first accident.


New at Our Blog: All parties should commit to lifting people with disabilities out of poverty

Injured worker wins entitlement 72 years after horrific burns at work


Power to Abuse

This Indigenous ex-cop is owed 15 years in lost wages. Instead he’s living without running water.

WSIB ruled in Ralph Thistle’s favour last September but he still hasn’t been paid.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/this-indigenous-ex-cop-is-owed-15-years-in-lost-wages-instead-he-s-living-without-running-water-1.6079027?ref=mobilerss&cmp=newsletter_CBC%20Toronto_1642_286198


Ombudsman takes injured workers complaints seriously

From Australia: WorkSafe2: Follow-up investigation into the management of complex workers compensation claims


Day of Mourning 2021

Tragically, the human cost of COVID-19 goes undocumented but it’s full cost is known all too well by essential workers and their families. Produced by the Edmonton and District Labour Council.


Injured Workers Speak Out


Must-Read: ‘We didn’t have Gavin anymore’: The aftermath of a workplace injury


Alberta Workers Need a Win Like Ontario

Another win for the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups at the Superior Court of Ontario.  Thanks to ARCH for their great work on this case!

https://www.lawtimesnews.com/practice-areas/corporate-commercial/privacy-rights-of-workers-with-disabilities-at-issue-in-commercial-dispute-over-alleged-negligence/355115


MUST READ:

Insult to Injury: Critics say Alberta’s workers compensation system has become more about protecting employers than injured employees

New Alberta Law Makes Sweeping Changes to Occupational Health and Safety Act, Amends Workers’ Compensation Act

Demands 

  • No more deeming (and/or)
    • no more phantom jobs
    • stop pretending injured workers can get safe and appropriate jobs during a pandemic. 
  • A “presumptive clause” so that workers in at-risk sectors automatically get coverage when they get COVID-19
  • Universal coverage – so that all workers in Alberta  have access to workers comp when they are sick or injured
  • Listen to our doctors! Listen to science!
  • Safer conditions and better treatment for migrant workers.
  • Better healthcare for injured workers. 
  • Someone at WCB to return my calls when I have questions or concerns about my claim. 

Response to the WCB Review: To read the Canadian Injured Workers Association of Alberta Response to the Final Report of the Alberta Workers Compensation Board Review Panel, click here


HONOURING THOSE FALLEN FROM COVID-19

March 11th was the one-year anniversary of the WHO’s pandemic declaration, and people from labour, seniors and health advocacy organizations gathered on the Alberta legislature grounds to recognize the impact of the pandemic on Albertans.

1,928 roses laid for each COVID-19 death in Alberta on the pandemic anniversary

The Alberta Federation of Labour joined the United Nurses of Alberta, Friends of Medicare, Public Interest Alberta, Alberta Arts Action and Seniors’ Action and Liaison Team on the one-year anniversary of the WHO’s pandemic declaration to commemorate all the lives that didn’t need to be lost, and in recognition of the work that is yet to be done.  Placed on the ground were nearly 2000 roses — one for each person we have lost, colour coded for the age of each person, gold, silver and white for seniors, purple for people in their 50s, yellow 40s, blue 30s and pink 20s to show how seniors have been impacted. 

August 20, 2019: Just Common Sense

July 29, 2019: Burden of proof in workers’ compensation: In the past no one in government was  willing to touch the sacred cow. Even the fair practice office passed the buck and refused to answer the question. How fair is that?

National Day of Mourning: April 28, 2019

162 people who died as a result of workplace accident or disease were honoured at Edmonton’s Day of Mourning ceremony on April 28 at Grant Notley Park. Here are some photos taken by Paula Kirman – you can view all of her photos here, and view videos from the event here.

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Injured worker Greg Mady tells his story.
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April 28, 2019: Can we work together in Alberta? Follow Ontario’s supported programs.

To: Unions in Ontario and ONIWG Member Groups

The OFL & ONIWG are sponsoring an exciting Workers’ Compensation Conference on June 20-21 at the IBEW Local 353 Hall in Toronto. The purpose of this conference is to inform our activists and advocates, to review and reinvigorate the Workers’ Comp is a Right campaign, to work with our system partners to make the compensation system fairer for injured workers and to support collaboration with labour and the injured worker community to achieve these goals.

We begin with a special preview of the new Widows of Asbestos documentary about the Peterborough GE workers, followed by a panel discussion on lessons learned in fighting for victims of occupational disease. Afternoon workshop choices are OFL Prevention Links’ Advanced Workshop on Mental Injury Claims, or Mental Health 101, or Accommodation Law. On Friday morning Steven Bittle, Associate Professor of Criminology from the University of Ottawa presents his study on Underreporting Work-Related Deaths in Canada, followed by a panel discussion of what we can do about it. Friday morning will end with a discussion of labour and injured worker groups working together, and the conference will adjourn at 12:30 pm.

The conference will be held at the IBEW Local 353 Hall in Toronto. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Toronto Don Valley Hotel and Suites, 175 Wynford Drive, and will be held until May 21, 2019, at a rate of $ 145.00 single or double occupancy.

To reserve a room, contact Toronto Don Valley Hotel & Suites: 175 Wynford Drive Toronto, Ontario, M3C 1J3, tel: 416-449-4111, toll-free reservation: 1-877-474-6835.

To register, please go to: OFLONIWG2019.eventbrite.ca. A registration fee of $200.00 is set for delegates.

This conference is a must for all workers’ compensation activists! Space is limited, so register early.

MORE UPDATES

News and articles are always being added to Our Blog – please keep checking back for updates! A few of the latest posts:

Too Much Power (Human Rights Commission and WCB)

When will the public be tired of the garbage at the WCB? Will this madness ever stop? Case Managers and DRDRB do not have to know where the leg or the head is on an injured workers body but has the power to cripple a person with their uneducated decisions. They continue to only  accept the medical opinion of the paid WCB medical consultant. The appeals commission has denied chronic pain in certain claims that was accepted for years. They don’t even have the jurisdiction to do so. How can some one earn almost $200,000 a year in Alberta and not even review the last three member panel review. Where they found out that nothing in 40 years changed. The case managers and DRDRB still don’t require  medical or legal knowledge and typically pick the WCB paid medical consultants opinion over medical specialists and doctors that have treated you for your injury over the last nine or ten years. No wonder an injured worker is left crippled. This is not a joke so why are they still laughing?

Summer/Fall 2018:  A major thank-you to Paula Kirman for filming injured workers on June 28 talking about Bill 30 and their personal stories of dealing with the WCB. Here is the video!

Here is information about a new report from the Parkland Institute.


May 2018: All out for Injured Workers’ Day!

April 2018:  One of CIWAA’S goals is to have the provincial government re-open all WCB claims that were rejected due to an opinion by an independent medical consultant.  We are in the process of gathering information – read more.

March 2018: Check out our Bill 30 Archive including a Summary of Recommendations.

Watch this video from Alberta Primetime, which features an interview with the AFL’s Gil McGowan.

Also, important reading is Ricardo Acuna’s article in VUE Weekly from November: Growing Pains: Workers’ Compensation Board review shows that there is still room for improvement

Update: November 24, 2017: This week’s VUE Weekly features an article about our petition in the context of the WCB review. Thank you Ricardo Acuna for writing it. You can read it here:

Growing Pains: Workers’ Compensation Board review shows that there is still room for improvement

Also, be sure to check out the petition being tabled in the Legislature by MLA Chris Nielsen at his Facebook video page.

And listen to an interview with CIWAA’s Donna Oberik last week on CBC Radio.


Update: November 15, 2017 – CIWAA would like to thank MLA Chris Nielsen for tabling the petition yesterday. Chris was passionate and expressed the concerns of injured workers to the members in the house at the legislation. We want to thank those injured workers that came to support themselves. They came from Calgary and Drumheller. Hats off to all of you.

For those of us that heard every word MLA Chris Nielsen spoke we are extremely grateful and impressed that he understood WCB is still unjust and legislation needs to be changed immediately. CIWAA members still feel that there has not been any recommendations or provisions for those injured workers that have been denied their legitimate injuries because of personal opinion from the paid for WCB chosen doctors. Government needs to re- open up those claims ,start from scratch using medical evidence , clinical evaluation , treating specialists and physicians evidence instead of paid for personal opinion that helped WCB deny the injured workers rights and natural justice.

CIWAA was live today on CBC radio . We must continue to pressure the government to seek the truth be hands on and investigate claims that were closed on personal opinion of the WCB chosen paid doctors. WCB spends millions of dollars on medical investigation (opinions ) in order to deny an injured worker when they could spend a pittance accept medical evidence and give a person back a life worth living after injury.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/programs/edmontonam/an-organization-representing-injured-workers-is-demanding-the-wcb-make-changes-1.4403334

https://www.facebook.com/pg/ChrisNielsenNDP/videos


Update: October 2017

***To read the Canadian Injured Workers Association of Alberta Response to the Final Report of the Alberta Workers Compensation Board Review Panel, click here.***

The Report and Recommendations of the of the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) Review Panel was released by the Alberta government in early July.

Congratulations to all injured workers, their advocates and allies who presented their stories, evidence, and experience to the panel. Together our work helped to smash the silence on the failure of the WCB system to provide what injured workers need and its obsession with reducing employer premiums, not caring for injured workers. We spoke out in defence of our rights, our right to be treated with respect and dignity, to the maintenance of our standard of living, to retraining when needed, and to have our health and medical needs taken care of.

The Panel began its work in early 2016. Many injured workers actively took part in the panel’s review, responding to the injured workers questionnaire, giving written submissions to the Panel, participating in meetings organized between the panel and injured workers in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge, as well as “engagement sessions” in which CIWAA participated. We thank our allies and advocates including the Alberta Federation of Labour, many unions and other organizations for their hard work and for the assistance they provided to us.

Many of the 60 recommendations of the Panel, if implemented, will make a positive difference for injured workers. Now we must ensure that what is missing is also included, and continue to work for new legislation which upholds our rights. Stay tuned for discussion of the next chapter of our work!

(To read the full 192 page report, go to Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) Review www.alberta.ca/wcb-review.aspx)


The October 19 issue of Workers’ Forum features the article “Compensation is a Right!” by Peggy Morton, as well as CIWAA’s response to the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board Review Panel recommendations. We thank Peggy and Workers’ Forum for their support. You can download the paper in PDF form at this link.

Update: July 7, 2017

***Please visit our blog to read the WCB review recommendations and let your voice be heard!***

The Government of Alberta has announced the WCB review recommendations. You can read them here. CIWAA would like to share your comments with the government, as there is still some disconnect of how many injured workers view the WCB. For more information and the opportunity to make a comment, visit our blog post.

Here is our written submission to the Alberta WCB Review Panel, which was submitted via email in July of 2016.

Update: May 2017

CIWAA has been busy since the Beyond Workplace Wellness Conference on April 27, 2017 where we were invited by the AUPE & OHS to present our booth representing our views of the problem issues surrounding WCB.
Namely our four pillars are 1) End of the Case Manager bonus system to close files. 2) End the Medical Panel and it’s use of Doctor’s opinions for sale contradicting treating physicians medical evidence. 3) Deeming: where WCB deems you are fit for some type of menial labour 4) Where is the WCB money? Why are we using AISH as a tax payer funded program for injured workers denied by WCB. Provide the WCB insurance as our right and keep the taxpayer (AISH) out of the equation.
Our booth was very  busy at the Conference and we generated a lot of signatories for our petition. Thank you to all the AUPE & OHS  members who stopped by to chat. Everyone attending the Conference was receptive to our cause.

On April 28, 2017 the CIWAA Executive attended the Day of Mourning sponsored by the Edmonton District and Labour Council at Borden Park. Tributes were paid to the 144 fallen brothers and sisters who were killed in the Alberta workplace in 2016. Very sad to think last year we killed 3 working people a week in Alberta. Shame!

Catch Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull’s, Executive Director of the Alberta Workers Health Centre, speech here:

Jared cares about the lives of injured workers and is able to share the suffering  through his words and acts of ongoing kindness towards the members of CIWAA. Jared thank you for making the lives of injured workers matter.
On May 1, 2017 CIWAA Executive attended the May Day rally. Due to our members handicaps we were unable to have any of our representatives actually participate in the march. It was another strong showing of working people and we thank the Alberta Federation of Labour for their support and organization of May Day.
CIWAA will be active over the summer following up with all our new contacts and supporters. We are still soliciting signatories for the Petition if you know of a group of people who share our views please mention the importance of our petition in helping to shape the changes that need to be made following the WCB Review.
CIWAA continues to advocate for the WCB to be human. Our government is listening. Incentive Bonus”s  for  case managers to discard injured workers by closing the claim has  been taken away. Of course this does not help the 100,000 plus injured workers still suffering from bought opinion’s and clerks playing doctor but will help future injured workers. Also agriculture workers now have WCB.

Thanks to AWHC, AFL and Black Cat Press local 445  for supplying printing  enabling CIWAA to get our message out.

Please print our petition and gather signatures. Print flyers and distribute to those unaware of how WCB operates. Here is our Reform and restructure the WCB flyer.

February 3, 2017:

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the Injured Workers who took the time to respond to the WCB review. Meetings are ongoing and as of yet we have no concrete progress to report though the idea of a Worker Task Force has been talked about a lot.

Once the meetings have concluded and we are sure of the direction the Government is going to take we will have an opportunity to join in with our recommendations.

Your stories provided the human element that was missing on so many of these WCB claims and for your input and support in the {be human campaign} we are truly grateful.

Good work to all who spent the time to tell their stories. The hope is every injured worker comes forward and is allowed to be interviewed regarding life after injury.

Please continue to have your doctor advocate for you and if they are willing to be interviewed by a reporter for a major news station they can send their contact information to canadianinjuredworkers@gmail.com.

Here is a video of Premier Rachel Notley speaking about problems concerning the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) at an event held by the Canadian Injured Workers Association of Alberta at the Garneau (Metro) Theatre on May 16, 2013:


A Injury To One Is An Injury To All! Please tell the government this abuse must stop.

Together we have a powerful voice.  Please sign this NEW PETITION. Here is the link for the pdf version, which can be printed.  Share it with your family, friends, co-workers, and doctors.

Signed petitions should be returned to:

CIWAA
c/o Alberta Workers Health Centre
#600, 12323 Stony Plain Road
Edmonton, Alberta T5N 3Y5

We would like to present this petition to Premier Notley.