A recent National Observer investigation detailed how an Ontario paper mill poisoned nearby First Nations and their decades-long fight for environmental justice. The toxic chemicals and contaminants also had long-term and grave impacts for construction workers at the Dryden Mill. A report by the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) following an intake clinic documented the poisoning (chronic toxic encephalopathy). However workers and their survivors continue to be frustrated in having their occupational disease claims recognized by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). In response, the Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers’ Support Group, assisted by Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic, has organized a Dryden Occupational Disease committee (Dryden RB4) to collect stories and get justice for these workers.
Occupational Disease Reform Alliance
Dryden is one of many occupational disease clusters across the province. A newly formed group – the Occupational Disease Reform Alliance (ODRA) – seeks to have the necessary changes made to provide fair and just compensation to victims of work-related disease. The ODRA has four main demands. The WSIB must :
- Compensate occupational disease claims when workplace patterns exceed the community level;
- Use the proper legal standard; not scientific certainty;
- Expand the list of communicable diseases presumed work-related;
- Accept multiple exposures combine to cause diseases.
Members of ODRA come from communities across Ontario with various backgrounds for a common goal, fighting for justice for the victims of occupational disease. Email email@example.com. Follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/odreform and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ODreformalliance [Read ODRA backgrounder]