On Injured Workers Day, June 1, injured workers as well as unions and other organizations will remind the government that justice — not poverty — was the primary reason the compensation system was set up in 1914. Workers gave up their right to sue employers for workplace injury and illness compensation in exchange for a system that was supposed to provide fair recompense to injured workers so that they could continue their lives with dignity even in the face of injury or permanent disablement.
This year’s Auditor General Report once again highlights the unfunded liability of the WSIB/WCB. The report shifts the debate from the poverty of injured workers to the financial situation of the Board. We’ve seen this old movie time and again.
Not that the financial situation of the Board ought to be ignored. Even though the WSIB has an unfunded liability, it has enough resources to meet its commitments for the next 25 years!
If the WSIB wants to improve its funding ratio, it should do it in a way that maintains the integrity of its system. Rather than robbing benefits from already poor injured workers for a third time, why not ask employers to end the assessment holiday they have enjoyed for more than ten years?
In 1996 employers paid 3.20 per $100 of payroll. Now they pay 2.26. Employers are earning 2010 dollars and paying 1980’s prices for workers’ compensation coverage.
Employers’ rates went down during the same time that injured workers saw virtual elimination of their cost of living allowances, disappearance of retirement income and slashes to compensation levels. It is time that injured workers stop bearing the burden of real or fake WSIB woes.
It is injured workers who need the attention and protection of the Auditor, the government, the WSIB, and the public. If injured workers are barred from suing their employers for injury, they should not receive half measures. Injured workers deserve what the compensation system promised them in 1914. Compensation should provide long-term and adequate benefits, truly safe, meaningful, and sustainable work and cost of living adjustments. End “deeming,” the practice where workers get categorized into a specific job, whether or not they actually acquire a job. Stop paying out billions of dollars to employers in experience-rating programs that focus more on manipulating stats than on compensating injured workers.
Join us as we pay tribute to the contribution injured workers have brought to Ontario, and demand justice. Workers deserve fair compensation and dignity following workplace injury or disablement.
June 1 activities
Beginning May 31 at 3 pm at Queen’s Park in Toronto, (the afternoon before Injured Workers Day) injured workers will hold a vigil to highlight their call for fairness. The vigil will continue throughout the evening, overnight, and into the June 1, 2010 main event. Please join us at the vigil and as we gather at 11:00 am at Queen’s Park or at any other event across Ontario. Download Flyer
Another event will be held on May 31, 2010 at 4:30in St Catharines, at 301 St. Paul Street, sponsored by the Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups (ONIWG). Contact 905-934-6233 for more information about this event.