This Monday injured workers held the annual December demonstration organized by the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) , advocates and labour to let the workers’ compensation board (WSIB) and the government know that for many it is not a season of cheer.
In Toronto, injured workers took their protest for the 24th year to the steps of the Ministry of Labour, joined by the OFL, UFCW, USW and Unifor. Speakers called out the Board for eliminating its unfunded liability on the backs of injured workers who continue to pay the price for employers’ lower premiums. Their question: Why is the Board trumpeting $2 billion annually being “returned to the Ontario economy” and employers in the form of substantial rate reductions instead of reversing the aggressive cuts to injured workers’ benefits? They also repeated the call for an Ombudsman investigation made in the recent ONIWG/OFL report “Prescription Over-ruled” on Board interference in medical care. Among those addressing the rally were Catherine Fenech & Karl Crevar (ONIWG), Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn, NDP MPP Peter Tabuns, new OFL President Chris Buckley, Dr Giorgio Ilacqua, and Chris Ramsaroop (Justicia for Migrant Workers).
- See additional photos in December 14 Rally gallery (courtesy of Joel Duff, OFL)
Injured workers also held rallies in Thunder Bay and Windsor:
“Injured workers want answers on WSIB decision-making practices” / Leith Dunick (tbnewswatch.com, Dec. 14, 2015)
Too many injured workers with legitimate claims are being turned away by the Board while doctors’ recommendations are ignored to keep costs down. This is the message injured workers from the Thunder Bay and Algoma districts took Monday to the office of Liberal MPP Michel Gravelle. “It’s a lousy insurance program instead of being a quality workers compensation program”, said president of the Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers’ Support Group, Greg Snider, who demanded a public inquiry into how the system can be fixed.
“Injured workers protest outside WSIB office” / Sharon Hill (Windsor Star, Dec. 15, 2015)
Windsor injured workers gathered outside the local WSIB Offfice to protest their treatment by the Board. Windsor & District Labour Council president Brian Hogan noted that we all pay when injured workers failed by the workers’ compensation system turn to OHIP and social assistance. Essex MPP Taras Natyashak backed the call for an investigation: “[Injured workers] don’t have the ability, the capacity to appeal their claims when denied. They feel re-victimized and they feel stigmatized because they’re not looked at as injured workers but a liability to the system.”
- For additional coverage see “Windsor labour supporters rally for injured workers” / Tom Morrison (Our Windsor.ca, Dec. 14, 2015)