In an online Zoom/Telephone meeting next Wednesday, April 27th at 12:30pm will discuss the WSIB response to inflation that is going through the roof – a small cost of living adjustment that that is well-below the higher costs found in injured workers’ grocery bills. We will talk about how you can help push back against this injustice, and discuss a number of other important in-person and online events that are coming up in the next few months.
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“Injured workers are losing out on vital compensation because the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is failing to apply cost-of-living benefit increases as required by law, critics say…” While Statistics Canada reports costs of living up 4.7% between October 2020 and October 2021, the Board is averaging these costs out, giving injured workers only 2.7%.
As IWC’s Chris Grawey points out, this will only exacerbate and perpetuate the poverty in which many accident victims are living…“It’s time to pay the injured workers what they’re entitled to by law.”
Read full article: Mojtehedzadeh, Sara. 2022 Apr. 14. “It’s just another blow’: why injured workers say they’re losing out as inflation hits.” Toronto Star
In a Toronto Star op-ed IWC caseworkers call on whichever government takes power after the election to change the WSIB’s arbitrary and discriminatory age 65 cut-off for wage-loss benefits.
Even though the province abolished mandatory retirement in 2006, workers’ compensation legislation was exempted. However more Canadians are staying in the workforce past the age of 65, in part because they can’t afford to retire. The WSIB’s own data bears out this trend. From 2002 to 2020, the number of workers’ compensation claims for workers age 65 or older has increased by more than 500 per cent…
Read full article: by Tebasum Durrani and Chris Grawey
Submission urges that the WSIB respect Meredith’s concept that occupational disease should be put on “the same footing” as workplace accidents, and that the WSIB Policy framework should adopt the same evidentiary standard of “Significant contributing factor” in order to bring some reparation and justice to victims of occupational disease in Ontario… This means that if a worker’s employment or activities related to their employment are shown to be a significant contributing factor in their injury or disease, then the worker will get WSIB benefits. This doesn’t mean that a workplace accident or injury has to be the only cause of a worker’s condition or disease…..
Our organization has been supportive of the newly formed Occupational Disease Reform Alliance (ODRA) since its inception. We fully endorse their submission to this consultation. The ODRA includes victims and survivors of occupational disease as well as deeply knowledgeable experts in the compensation of occupational disease. The group believes that key to addressing the issue of occupational disease in Ontario is to have legislation to meet its four demands: 1) compensate occupational disease claims when workplace patterns exceed levels in the surrounding community; 2) expand the list of compensable diseases presumed to be work-related; 3) use the proper legal standard, not scientific certainty; 4) accept that multiple exposures combine to cause disease…
Submission draws attention to the significant revenue leakage from the provincial coffers caused by Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claim suppression. In particular this revenue leakage impacts health care and social assistance, budget areas already stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Claims suppression refers to actions taken by an employer to induce a worker not to report an injury or illness, or alternatively, to under-report the severity of an injury or illness or the amount of lost time attributable to that injury or illness. It was identified as a “moral crisis” by Prof. Harry Arthurs in his 2012 “Funding Fairness” report to the WSIB. It was called a “real problem” by Prism Economics and Analytics in their 2013 report to the WSIB: “Workplace Injury Claim Suppression.” The 2020 Speer-Dykeman Operational Review found the WSIB’s system of audits and checks does not provide a “credible basis” to make judgments about the system’s performance. Claim suppression has been indicated as a huge issue by government and WSIB inquiries, but to no avail…
IWC supports efforts to increase workplace safety, including access to naloxone to reduce the risk of deaths caused by opioid overdoses. The Clinic also urges that people who use opioids are not demonized in this review – many workers have a well-managed and appropriate regime of pain killers which may well be the only thing that is effective for them to manage pain and return to some activities of daily living.
It is imperative that the Ministry also examines the harmful impacts that WSIB policies and practices have on contributing to potentially unsafe use of opioids, including:
- Restore the Board’s previous practice recognizing the importance of time to heal rather than the “Better at Work” approach pressures workers to return to work early
- Listen to the treating doctor on the timing and nature of a safe return to work; ensure the protocols for Board approval of opioid prescriptions are not overly onerous and bureaucratic
- Provide adequate access to alternative treatments for pain