In its recent submission to the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board’s ongoing operational review, Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic (IWC) provides feedback informed by its knowledge of the on-the-ground reality of injured workers’ experiences when seeking support from the Board.
Regarding financial oversight, one of the three issues on which the review focuses, the submission addresses the “perhaps unspoken and unintentional” assumption behind how the Board balances its funding requirements with its obligation to provide fair compensation for injured workers. Among the Submission’s proposals: move to universal coverage, benefitting both the WSIB finances and injured workers; remove rate setting from political interference and address the inadequacies of experience rating which continues to provide employers with strong financial incentives to minimize claims costs.
On the two other issues that the Review is looking at, efficiency and administration, the submission points to the operational results as they impact injured workers – the most important stakeholder group in the compensation system. The submission highlights key systemic problems that injured workers face due to poor administrative decisions, policies and communication; research identifying the benefits of public over private workers’ compensation systems; and insufficient representation of injured workers in governance of the Board. [Read full submission ]
Advocacy for reform – legal clinics efficiently giving direct client service to the many
In providing input to operational reviews such as this, or to policy and legislative reviews, IWC is fulfilling one of its key mandated roles as a specialty legal clinic – systemic advocacy. By engaging in advocacy to remove systemic barriers or increase service effectiveness, legal clinics work to improve meaningful access to justice. Drawing on knowledge and experience gained in representing individual clients and through community development and outreach work, they propose positive changes and efficiencies that will benefit all Ontarians. In doing this, LAO’s clinics are, as always, reflecting first and foremost “the interests of clients, administrative efficiency and cost-effectiveness” in line with Ontario’s legal aid legislation.