Long-time injured worker activists Richard Hudon and Peter Page set out Monday May 25 from Ottawa on the first leg of their 600 km bike ride to Toronto to draw attention to the current state of Ontario’s workers’ compensation.
The WSIB is supposed to be here to help people who have been injured at work. But in recent years, the Board has been reducing benefits to injured workers, and it’s getting worse. When the WSIB denies someone their benefits, lives are shattered…
- May 24 (Sunday) Ottawa
- May 25 (Monday) Ottawa to Cornwall (102 km)
- May 26 (Tuesday) Cornwall to Ingleside (23 km); Ingleside to Prescott (81 km); Prescott to Brockville (18 km)
- May 27 (Wednesday) Brockville to Kingston (82 km
- May 28 (Thursday) Kingston to Belleville (82 km)
- May 29 (Friday) Belleville to Cobourg (101 km)
- May 30 (Saturday) Cobourg to Oshawa (62 km)
- May 31 (Sunday) Oshawa to Toronto (60 km)
- June 1st (Monday) 32nd annual Injured Workers’ Day rally at Queen’s Park
Off and riding… The day started with interviews by the Ottawa Sun (“Ottawa man cycling for the rights of injured workers”) and CBC TV News at 11. Richard, Peter and fellow team member Pierre Le Blanc (handling the support vehicle and logistics) were joined by Karl Crevar and Margery Wardle to meet fellow injured workers and spread the word (including to the young!) at the Canadian Labour Congress monument to injured workers, dedicated by the CLC on April 28, 1987. A visit was also made to the Rideau Canal Celtic Cross memorial near Lock #1 for the Irish workers who died building the canal between 1826 and 1832.
Monday, Ottawa to Cornwall
After delaying their departure a little to give a couple of interviews with Ottawa morning radio shows, Richard & Peter “started out with Karl, Margery and Richard’s brother Pierre seeing us off. By 11:00 O’clock on Monday the rain started, drizzle at first then steady and constant rain.
Tuesday, Cornwall to Brockville
“Elaine McDonald from Cornwall Labour Council graciously took us to the monument. She took pictures and interviewed us and sent it out to her news people in Cornwall. We took the waterfront trail out of Cornwall all the way to Morrisburg and did some more on highway #2 … The wind was in our face all along highway 2 and even on the trails but at least the trails provided shade from the 29 degree celsius heat. When we arrived at our hotel around 4:00 O’clock we were greeted by the local press who interviewed us about the ride.” (Brockville Recorder & Times )
Wednesday, Brockville to Kingston
Another long stretch, along the beautiful Thousand Island Parkway trail and fortunately the thunderstorms held off. At the mid-day stop in Ganonoque, a wonderful surprise awaited when a fellow amputee, impressed by Richard’s courage, made a generous donation of $500. On arriving at their destination in Kingston, they were happy to meet injured workers who came out to greet them and sign the Big Book of Injured Workers, then headed off to do an interview with radio station 104.3 Kingston.
The riders are now about the half-way mark. Peter reports they are holding up well (“Richard has a lot of knowledge about pacing yourself on a bike!”)
Thursday, Kingston to Belleville
The day started with an opportunity to share experiences with a fellow injured worker, and add another signature to the Big Book of Injured Workers. Today’s 80 km route took Richard and Peter to the Picton ferry, then another 30 or so km into Belleville. “We have had good roads with shoulders that allow for bikes but Belleville was a bit scary so we packed up just outside of town and drove in.” But the day was not done – still a couple of media interviews (Inside Belleville) , injured workers to greet and Justice For Injured Workers newspapers to hand out and spread the word.
Friday, Belleville to Cobourg
Yet another strenuous day, starting with interviews (“Oshawa Express” and “OHS Canada”). A long haul with some steep hills to reach Cobourg, but now almost 80% of the way to their Toronto destination. Today’s route took them through Trenton where base veterans were among those signing the Big Book of Injured Workers. And news today that Peter’s diary about his Big Book will be in the next issue of Our Times!
Saturday, Cobourg to Oshawa
A long and rather difficult day travelling on this section of the waterfront trail. The gravel created problems for Richard’s bike, making it hard to pedal, and the trail itself hard to locate from Clarington into Bowmanville. On a positive note, the Port Hope bakery Queenies insisted on giving support in the form of free pastries… Heavy rain forced the riders to pack it in just before Oshawa, but they did get to the Injured Workers’ memorial at Oshawa City Hall. Onwards tomorrow to Toronto!
Oshawa to Toronto
A marathon effort! A rather soggy day greeted Richard and Peter, but around mid-day they had almost completed their 600k bike ride from Ottawa along southern Ontario. Here’s Richard on the Danforth spreading the message at Fire Station 225. Now tomorrow one last leg to go – Queen’s Park and University Ave for the Injured Workers’ Day rally and march…
Updated June 21, 2018