At a time when labour reforms for a changing workplace with increasingly precarious employment have been rolled back and recent funding cuts leave Ontario workers, especially temporary workers, with less protection from injury, there are renewed calls for universal workers’ compensation coverage.
Currently almost 25% of the Ontario workforce are not covered by compensation for occupational injury or disease under the province’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, compared with over 97% workforce coverage in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
Only industries specifically listed in the Act are required to give their workers protection through Ontario’s workers’ compensation system. As that list has been rarely updated since the Act came into being, it excludes many new industries and types of work. Many service industries such as information technology, call centres, banking and financial institutions, private healthcare – and the gig economy – are among the new sectors without mandatory coverage.
Cover Me WSIB – sign the petition
With the government review underway, now is the optimal time to recognize the extensive benefits of expanded WSIB coverage for workers, employers and government,” said Harry Goslin, President of the Ontario Compensation Employees Union (OCEU)
Their Cover Me WSIB campaign seeks to expand coverage to all Ontario workplaces and the 1.7 million excluded workers. As the CUPE news release details, with universal coverage “WSIB would be better resourced to support injured workers, while reducing costs for both employers and government …”
- Canadian Union of Public Employees. 2019 Jun. 5. News release: Government Review of WSIB Must Consider Expanding Coverage to All Workplaces
- Women of Inspiration. 2017 Jul. 18. Letter to the Minister of Labour re: Workers’ Compensation Universal Coverage
- Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards in Canada. Scope of Coverage – Industries/Occupations