Injured Worker Unemployment: The Hidden Truth by the ONIWG Research Action Committee highlights telling statistics on wage loss and unemployment among seriously injured workers with permanent disabilities – and the resulting mental health impacts.
According to figures provided by the WSIB, only 14 to 18.5 % of workers who have a work-related permanent disability (a NEL) are receiving wage loss benefits by the time of the final review (72 months after injury). However, separate research studies led by Peri Ballantyne and Emile Tompa conclude that 58% to 68% of injured workers with permanent impairments are experiencing significant wage loss on a long term basis. Research shows there is significant under-compensation in Ontario’s workers compensation system.
Along with the significant financial losses experienced by many injured workers, far too many experience mental health problems according to research by Fergal O’Hagan:
The findings paint a troubling picture of the mental health of injured workers with permanent impairment. The general prevalence of mental health conditions in the sample is of concern, with more than one third of the sample reporting five out of nine mental health diagnoses or conditions; almost 50% reported symptoms of depressed mood and problems concentrating … “
As does the related Backgrounder The Problem with Deeming, the ONIWG paper provides a condemnation of how Ontario’s compensation system treats injured workers who suffer a work-related permanent disability.
- Ballantyne, Peri. 2015. Poverty Status of Worker Compensation Claimants with Permanent Impairments. [Youtube] Video presentation at Bancroft Institute Research to Action Workshop, Oct. 22-23.