ONIWG is a provincial voice for workers who have been injured or made ill on the job. We have first-hand experience of the WCB/WSIB system, know it needs improvement and take united action to make this happen. A democratically governed organization, ONIWG has been representing workers since 1991.
Our 18 member groups have strong community roots, working closely with other local groups and agencies to advance the interests of injured workers. These include labour councils and labour unions, and legal clinics who provide advice and support. We also work with the local Office of the Worker Advisor, our Members of Provincial Parliament, and in municipal governments.
Despite no longer receiving provincial funding, ONIWG continues to lobby and raise public awareness (see current Workers’ Comp Is a Right campaign) about what needs to be fixed in Ontario’s broken workers’ compensation system. We speak up for injured worker rights with submissions and street rallies, petitions, research , media action, workshops & conferences.
ONIWG groups in your community [Directory]
- offer peer support – meet other workers who face the same challenges that you do
- provide information on dealing with the compensation system
- give you an opportunity to join the fight for justice
What we are fighting towards!
- Reform of the Workers’ Compensation Act and Policy and a return to the founding principles.
- Dignity, Respect and Justice must be the foundation for a renewed Workers’ Compensation System
- An Act with the stated purpose to truly assist and compensate workers injured, made sick and disabled at work
Taking action – research, campaigns & advocacy
A leader in the struggle against Bill 99, ONIWG continues to campaign for a just compensation system through law reform, for fairness in Board policy, dignity and respect in Board practice. With research, submissions and presentations, it documents those concerns and makes recommendations for the Legislative Assembly, Ministers and the WCB/WSIB. On the street, it co-organizes public rallies such as Injured Workers’ Day, Day of Mourning, RSI Awareness Day, the Annual Christmas demo outside the Ministry of Labour and the May pickets. Through press conferences and social media it shares the concerns and experiences of injured workers.
Current & recent actions
Workers’ Comp is a Right campaign
ONIWG launched its current campaign in 2017 calling for an end to some of the main methods by which the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is cutting benefits and sending people into poverty. The 3 demands: No cuts based on phantom jobs – Listen to injured workers’ treating healthcare professionals – Stop cutting benefits based on ‘pre-existing conditions’. See more details and action toolkit.
ONIWG Legal Defence Fund
ONIWG is asking injured workers to come forward and support a legal challenge against the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) in order to:
- bring in full cost of living protection for all injured workers’ benefits
- provide pensions for workers with permanent disabilities and eliminate the deeming system – injured workers need real jobs and job security or full compensation
Justice for Injured Workers Ride / Cyclothon Justice pour les accidentés du travail
In collaboration with the McIntyre Powder Project, long-time injured worker activist Peter Page led ONIWG’s fourth annual bike ride in May 2018 through northern Ontario, meeting fellow injured workers and raising public awareness of occupational disease and concerns with Ontario’s workers’ compensation system.
Recording the evidence
ONIWG researches how the workers’ compensation affects injured workers’ experience and conditions. In 2012 it conducted its second Injured Workers Poverty Survey, led by York University’s Bonnie Heath, to document real-life financial, social and health impacts of work injury and dealing with the Compensation Board.
As a partner organization in the Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury (2006-2011) and the Bancroft Institute, ONIWG contributes valuable worker-focused research and evidence for the community and policy-makers.
- Presentation: The WSIB’s annual indexing rate / cost-of-living adjustment rip-off for 2022 (May 10, 2022) ; Press release (Apr. 12, 2022)
- Submission on WSIB Insurance Fund Surplus Distribution Model Consultation (Aug. 8, 2021)
- Letter: ONIWG’s 2021 Injured Workers’ Day Message to MPPs | Press release (GlobeNewswire) (June 1, 2021)
- Presentation to Standing Committee on Bill 161, Stronger and Smarter Justice Act (Jun. 11, 2020)
- Press release: UN Highlights the Unique Challenges Faced by Disabled Injured Workers During COVID-19 (May 19, 2020)
- Letter to WSIB President on COVID-19 impacts (Mar. 24, 2020)
- Deeming laws and practices as violations of the rights of people with work-acquired disabilities in Canada: submission to the UN CRPD (Sep. 4, 2019) and Media Release
- Letter of response to LAO Board Chair re legal aid cuts (Jul. 23, 2019)
- Phantom Jobs & Empty Pockets (May 2019)
- Press release: Injured Workers Call for Reversal of WSIB’s 30% Premium Rate Reduction for Employers (Sep. 27, 2018)
- Presentation on Bill 148 (and deeming) to the Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs (Jul. 19, 2017) – see also video
- Submission re Consultation on Draft Traumatic and Chronic Mental Stress Policy (Jul. 7, 2017)
- Submission: UN Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability (CRPD) (Oct. 6, 2016)
- ONIWG & IAVGO. Intervener factum to the Supreme Court of Canada re Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, et al. v. Fraser Health Authority, et al. (Jan 4, 2016)
- Prescription Over-ruled: Report on How Ontario’s WSIB Systematically Ignores the Advice of Medical Professionals (Nov. 5, 2015) – co-published with the OFL
ONIWG’s newspaper “Justice for Injured Workers” has been reporting to injured workers on the current state of Ontario’s workers’ compensation system since 2012.
The Justice for Injured Workers’ Newspaper Issue No 15 (Sep. 2019), the must-read newspaper of the Ontario Network for Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG), is now available (download in pdf).
In this issue, find a campaign recap on Workers’ Comp Is a Right; meet your new ONIWG executive; taking action to reverse the legal aid cuts; a call for a People’s Review of workers’ compensation; immigrant women fighting for workers’ rights; coverage of the ONIWG Annual General Meeting & ONIWG/OFL Workers’ Compensation Conference 2019; a year of injured workers in action (and photos); ONIWG demands for an end to deeming (Phantom Jobs & Empty Pockets report, and the ONIWG submission to the UN CRPD; universal coverage campaign; and remembering Rob Vachon.
Requests for issues can be made by contacting Peter Page, Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) phone(905) 746-3559
For the next issue, No. 16, send current news, articles and photos to: email@example.com
Your support towards the costs of producing the newspaper is appreciated. Please send cheques/donations for the JFIW Newspaper to:
127 Ravenwood Avenue
Thunder Bay ON P7B4H7