In two recent communications, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) continues to raise its voice on issues of long-standing concern to the injured worker community.
Claims suppression, non-reporting and abandoned claims
A letter to the President and CEO of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) requests a meeting to discuss the inter-related issues of the tens of thousands of claims not reported or abandoned every year.
Since the introduction of experience rating in the 1980s, the injured worker community has warned the Board about ‘claims suppression’. Defined as the actions taken by an employer to hinder appropriate reporting of a work-related injury or illness, the practice has become , in the words of Harry Arthurs, “a moral crisis”. The problem has yet to be adequately inadequately addressed, as even WSIB-commissioned reports have confirmed, including Arthurs’ 2012 Funding Fairness; ; the Prism Economics & Analysis 2013 claims suppression report; and the government’s 2020 Speer-Dykeman WSIB Operational Review.
The alarming (and likely underestimated) rate of worker non-claiming and employer non-reporting is highlighted most recently by Institute for Work & Health 2021 study on under-reporting which found that over a third of Ontario emergency department records for treatment of work-related injuries or illnesses in the period 2004-2017 did not show up as work-related claims at the WSIB (a discrepancy of approx. 50,000 ER cases annually).
An analysis by the ONIWG Research Action Committee of WSIB claims data 1993-2020, received through a Freedom of Information request, also draws the President’s attention to the disturbing increase in abandoned lost-time claims … [read full letter]
Financial bonanza for employers while injured workers short-changed
Following up on their May 25 letter to the WSIB President and CEO, ONIWG’s June 2014 press release references yet another recently announced financial handout to employers. This at a time while the Board short-changes injured workers, many of whom are already struggling financially, by misapplying the workers’ compensation law to give them a 2.7% cost-of-living adjustment when the percentage change (increase) in the Consumer Price Index is 4.7%. Meanwhile, wage-loss benefits have yet to be restored to 90% of average earnings in line with other provinces … [read full statement]