“Meet the man Ontario injured workers ‘love to hate’ ” / Richard J. Brennan (Toronto Star, Jan. 31, 2015)
Injured workers sincerely wish they had reason to praise the WSIB CEO and President for leadership of a fair compensation system. However in this article Marshall’s claims to have snatched the Board back from the “brink of financial ruin” while improving worker outcomes and safety are challenged by the Board’s own statistics. Workplace fatalities, for example, have increased by 43% from 2009 to 2013.
Marshall points to a reduced unfunded liability with more workers returning to work faster and fewer lost time claims. While the Ministry of Labour lauds the “significant transition” and refocusing of the Board, critics, including OFL president Sid Ryan, question how this financial “stability” is actually being achieved, and at what cost to injured workers’ rights. ONIWG’s Catherine Fenech also points to an increase in workers being told the board thinks they can go back to work no matter how badly injured they are. Injured Workers’ Consultants legal clinic executive director John McKinnon is still waiting for data on claims denied to be made available through an Access to Information request, data no longer published by the Board that may show just how the WSIB is cutting its expenses. Already, it is known that entitlement for workers with permanent impairment has gone down by 37% since 2012, and 22% less in benefits paid out over the period 2009 to 2013. NDP MPP Taras Natyshak agrees that despite what Marshall says, the deluge of calls he gets from injured workers falling through the cracks shows the system is not getting any better.