Changes to WSIB benefits policies and Appeals procedures introduced in the last few years have resulted in a “massive cutback to injured workers’ benefits, tantamount to a re-writing of the legislation” and undermining the Meredith principles on which Ontario’s workers’ compensation is based. The theme in the new benefit policies is to get decision makers to ‘look to deny’ by questioning work relatedness every step of the way. The new approach rejects the legal principles and tries to ‘medicalize’ the decision making process.
The impact is causing untold damage to the livelihood and physical and mental well-being of those suffering work-related injury or illness and their families. The increase in denied claims has forced many workers onto social assistance, while those with allowed claims are receiving lower average Loss of Earnings (LOE) payments and decreases in other benefits, including health and retraining services.