From the Ottawa Sun. Nice story and nice pic.
Here is an article reporting on the employer campaign in the US to strip away a hundred years of protection from injured workers. Are we far behind?
March 26, 2015
The family of an injured worker who committed suicide seven months after being discharged from the Workers’ Rehabilitation Centre in Grand Bay-Westfield is calling for a public inquiry into how WorkSafeNB manages mental illness.
“If they don’t go into [the claims process] with a mental disorder, they are coming out of it with a mental disorder,” says Rachel McKinnon, who found the body of her hanged father in the basement of his home.
McKinnon says 51-year-old Reginald Leblanc was a happy, kind, productive man until he was demoralized by WorkSafeNB and his treatment at the Workers’ Rehabilitation Centre (WRC).
Leblanc’s widow was left to grieve while being denied survivor benefits.
But that decision was overturned three months ago, when the Workers Compensation Tribunal reviewed the case and awarded Sandra Leblanc full compensation.
“That decision says to me that they’ve admitted they were responsible, in part, for his death,” says Leblanc, who was married to her husband for 36 years.
The appeals tribunal concluded that psychiatric treatment for Leblanc came too late during his physical injury treatment plan and rehabilitation.
Times & Transcript (Moncton), February 11th, 2015
FREDERICTON * New Brunswick’s Liberal government says it will soon make changes that will help more people get compensation for work-related injuries.
Francine Landry, the minister of post-secondary education, training and labour, said in an interview Tuesday it became obvious last year with the growing number of complaints and media coverage that something had to be done to help workers who feel they have been unjustly cut off from receiving some kind of insurance payment when they are hurt at work.
“We’ve listened and looked at the cases and the government wants to take action,” she said. “A new direction is needed for WorkSafe.”
WorkSafeNB is the independent agency responsible for making sure workers are properly compensated when they’re hurt.
“We want to re-establish the balance between the rights of the injured workers and the financial interests of the employers that are contributing to the fund,” Landry said. “We want to see more fairness in the system and the process, and we want to see the system work more quickly in response to the injured workers’ needs.”
The organization has been without a chairperson since the fall of 2014. The minister pledged her government would soon announce an interim chairperson to lead the work of the board in charge.
After a slew of media stories on disgruntled workers last year, WorkSafeNB defended its practices, pointing out it had to thoroughly investigate claims and ensure people weren’t cheating the system. It said its cautionary approach had led to some of the lowest rates for employers, who are forced by law to contribute to the program’s funds. Workers do not pay into the plan, unlike employment insurance, which provides income to people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
“Injured workers don’t have the right to sue employers for injuries because they are supposed to get some sort of compensation,” Landry said. “That’s the basic concept behind the law. But it’s a balance – we need to make sure everyone is treated fairly.”
Landry did not provide a timeline for the changes, saying consultations would happen as soon as possible.
Workers compensation has existed under different titles for about a century, but its main purpose remains the same: to protect people financially who get hurt at work. A financial incentive is also in place for employers to improve workplace safety, as premiums go up when injuries rise and more payments are made.
Here is a link to an excellent article written by Ella Bedard, a writer for Rabble.ca