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June 1st – Injured Workers Day in Ontario !

Help to stop the cuts to Workers’ Compensation and fight for justice for injured workers. Join a Rally in your community … check online for events happening in your community.
Bike ride

Here are some photos from the Queen’s Park rally organized by the Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups (ONIWG), the OFL, and allies to demand justice for injured workers. Afterwards, the OFL and ONIWG co-hosted a compensation conference at the Toronto Steelworker Hall. Photos

Pictured here is Karl Crevar, the Past President of ONIWG, and current Treasurer for CIWA:
2015 Jun01 - Karl C Spkg

Justice for Injured Workers Bike Ride / Premier cycleton

May 25, 2015 10:00 am

Injured worker activists Richard Hudon and Peter Page start out on their bike-a-thon from Ottawa to Toronto [download flyer], passing through the communities of Ingleside, Cornwall, Kingston, Oshawa, Port Hope, Ajax, Pickering to reach Queen’s Park, Toronto for the annual June 1st Injured Workers’ Day rally. If you wish to sponsor Richard and Peter or donate to the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups, please mail your support to ONIWG (R.R.1 Kaministiquia, Ontario, P0T 1X0) or download this pledge form.

Joignez-vous à Richard Hudon et Peter Page comme participants à ce premier [voir la brochure]. Cette randonnée en vélo quittera Ottawa pour se rendre à Toronto lors du grand rassemblement des accidentés de travail, le premier juin. Les accidentés de travail se font voir et entendre par les communautées impliquées : Ottawa, Ingleside, Cornwall, Kingston, Oshawa, Port Hope, Ajax, Pickering, Toronto. Si vous voulez considérer faire un don au Regroupement ontarien des Groupes d’accidentés du travail, aider en parrainant Richard et Peter ainsi de couvrir les coûts associés au Cycleton ou participer au cycleton, ils vous prient de les contacter – Peter Page, courriel, Richard R. Hudon, courriel

Event Details
Start: 25 May 2015 10:00 am
End: 1 June 2015 11:00 am
(Check out the website here)

June 1st – Injured Worker Day in Ontario

I Introduction

June 1 is Injured Workers Day. And for the first time in many years, anti-poverty activists see some hope with the passage of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Act earlier this month. What do these two statements have to do with one another? Injured workers are an often overlooked, but vital part of the picture of poverty in Ontario.

II Background – Injured Workers Day

Injured Workers Day commemorates June 1, 1984 when over 3,000 injured workers and their families attended a government committee that was looking at replacing lifetime workers’ compensation pensions for those partially or permanently injured with a lump-sum payment for pain and suffering and a wage-loss system of payment. Outraged injured workers convinced the committee to shift their meeting from the committee room to the lawn at Queen’s Park for the first time in the history of the legislature. Equally important, the changes opposed by injured workers did not make their way into the legislation (though similar changes have been implemented since that time.) Injured workers, their families, and advocates have gathered on the lawn of the legislature every June 1 since. [1]

This year’s rally will focus on poverty among injured workers and the need for the community to do its own research. Just as anti-poverty activists are struggling to undo the damage done to social assistance during the Conservative government in the nineties, so injured workers are fighting to restore workers’ compensation as a viable income security system.

To see more of this report submitted by Bonita Heath, health promoter and PhD student in the Critical Disability Studies Program at York University, and Steve Mantis, an injured worker who has been active in law reform and social change in occupational health and safety and workers compensation for 30 years, visit: Ontario Health Promotion e-Bulletin

April 28th – International Day of Mourning

The Canadian Labour Congress Statement for the 2015 National Day of Mourning. To see the statement, click CLC-CTC

To see the Official Act for the Day of Mourning, visit the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Search for information about events happening where you live and get involved!
Examples of Events:
BC: BC Federaation of Labour
AB: Alberta Construction Safety Association
ON: Injured Workers Online, Unifor
ON: Here’s a more complete list of: Ontario events

2015 Videos of Events:
Ottawa, ON: Parc Vincent, Massey Park
Nova Scotia: Port Hawkesbury
Vancouver, BC: Jack Poole Plaza
Ontario: WSIB video
Manitoba: Manitoba Legislature

Walmart, Lowe’s, Safeway, and Nordstrom Are Bankrolling a Nationwide Campaign to Gut Workers’ Comp! America’s biggest employers want to pick and choose the benefits they give their injured workers.

Hello everyone,

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?

Click here to read the full article

Mother Jones
Mike Mozart
March 26, 2015

Family calls for inquest after NB injured worker commits suicide

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.

To read more go to:

Minister says ‘new direction is needed for WorkSafeNB’; consultations to come

Times & Transcript (Moncton), February 11th, 2015
Page: B2
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.

What do you think – Does the WSIB provide enough support for mental health?

A story aired on CBC’s The Current yesterday about first responders who got PTSD on the job. Near the end of the radio program, almost all of the workers point to the challenges they’ve faced with WSIB. These challenges included: insufficient health care, WSIB minimizing the significance of injuries, needing to go elsewhere for support, and long wait times for compensation.
You can listen to the story here. To add to this conversation (and possibly have your comments reviewed on air), get in touch with The Current: Tweet them @thecurrentcbc or e-mail through the website. Find them on Facebook. Call toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. What do you think – Does the WSIB provide enough support for mental health?