The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) called on the government in its Jan. 18 submission to ongoing pre-budget consultations of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs to create an economy that is fair, decent and equitable for all – including injured workers, who continue to be left behind.
The OFL makes 2 specific recommendations concerning injured workers (p.7-8):
- Extend workers’ compensation coverage to all occupational sectors and all the province’s workers – make injured employees of currently excluded industries and services (such as financial institutions, hairdressers, high tech manufacturing, call centres) eligible for wage-loss benefits, health services and protection by the reinstatement and accommodation provisions of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act.
Excluded employers also do not have to provide paid sick leaves or disability insurance. Consequently, excluded workers are often left unemployed, seeking benefits from Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan Disability, or the Ontario Disability Support Program. Moreover, the treatment required for these workplace injuries is covered by the health care system rather than the employer … Overall, for excluded sectors, all of the costs associated with a workplace injury are borne by the public.”
- Restore funding to the Injured Worker Group Funding Program (cut in 2002) – in particular, to assist the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG) to best provide the necessary peer-support, education and services to help injured workers adjust to life after injury and, if medically appropriate, return to safe and meaningful work; negotiate the bureaucracy at the WSIB; and actively participate in developing workable solutions that improve Ontario’s workers’ compensation system.