“Ontario watchdog urged to investigate WSIB : Injured workers unfairly kicked off benefits are falling into desperate poverty, according to evidence submitted to Ontario’s ombudsman.” / Sara Mojtehedzadeh (Toronto Star, Jan. 29, 2016)
Following up on the overwhelming response to the report “Prescription Over-ruled”, health professionals, workers, legal advocates and labour groups call for a full investigation by the Ontario Ombuds Office of the WSIB for systematic disregard of the medical advice provided by doctors treating injured workers, “in favour of so-called ‘paper doctors’ who have not met patients directly.”
The 200-page “Submission to the Ontario Ombuds Office”, prepared by Aidan Macdonald and David Newberry of Injured Workers’ Consultants Community Legal Clinic for the Ontario Federation of Labour and Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups, includes evidence from 20 medical professionals, 41 case studies of injured workers, relevant Appeals Tribunal decisions, research and letters of support from individuals and legal clinics around the province. The authors note that the request for an investigation by the Ombuds Office comes as a last resort, after multiple efforts to raise concerns with the Board have been dismissed.
The experience of 46-year old Hamilton mover Marvin Mulder, suffering from severe work-related back injury, shows how the compensation system meant to help can in fact re-victimize. Although two failed surgeries left Mr Mulder still unable to stand or sit for prolonged periods, he was called almost immediately by the WSIB after his injury to re-train as a millwright or office assistant. When unable to complete his training because of persistent health problems, requiring emergency room care and verified by his specialist, the Board responded by calling him “unco-operative” and drastically reducing his benefits. Both the health and financial impact has been devastating. Relying now on the social assistance disability support program, the worker has also been approved for the Canada Pension Plan benefits available only for those with a “severe and prolonged disability” – but clawed back by the WSIB……
- Ontario Federation of Labour. 2016 Jan 29. “News release: OFL, Injured Workers and Medical Professionals File Official Request for Ombuds Ontario Investigation into the WSIB”
- “Workers Want WSIB’s ‘Paper Doctors’ Investigated” (CP24 News. Jan. 29, 2016). Interview with OFL president Chris Buckley and IWC’s Aidan Macdonald