Here an article written by a PSAC member and published in the June 3 edition of the Terrace Standard. Tony Vincenzi is a former light house keeper (UCTE) and has been battling WCB and Sun Life since 2004. We are happy to say Tony, assisted by James Little (H&S/WCB Rep in the Victoria RO), has just been successful in winning a Section 23(3) loss of earning award from WCB.
JANUARY 4, 2004 at 14:20 hours is the recorded time that I joined a very elite circle of people. Its the exact time I became a member of British Columbias permanently disabled work force.
I lost the independent life of being a member of the Canadian Coast Guard. I was relegated to a life of ongoing pain, of days of despair, of sleepless nights, and of the torment of the unknown.
It was a life admittedly I wished I could have ended on occasion.
These five years have resulted in the evolution of a completely new person. I am not able to judge if this person is of greater or lesser value than the man that was, but I do know that I have been able to become a man with which I can now live.
Physically I have aged at least 20 years. The outdoor existence that was my true nature has been forfeited. I have yet to develop a substitute, but I no longer rage at its passing. I valued my treasurers not by losing them but by enjoying them when I was able.
Share in this, my reality. Lose every cent that your life of saving and investment have produced. Be forced to live for 23 months with no income whatsoever. Pay a mortgage, feed a family, drive a car, cloth yourself. Live these challenges every day aware of the fact that the pain and medications hinder the thought process you need to survive.
Face the fact that your entire future as a family with children, grandchildren and ageing parents has been forever changed.
Know that the future you crafted is now controlled by a system that has absolutely no concern or conscience. Its a system designed to erase the humanity from the obligations that it is entrusted with.
Learn to feel the hatred that festers within a person forced to beg on a daily basis for the humanities that all able bodied people expect is their right. Sense the fear that you create when you challenge the system to deliver on its peoples mandate.
Experience the reality of friends that shun your presence, and the self desecration as you gradually come to realize that everything that is happening only fortifies your perception of personal blame.
This is the real world for hundreds of disabled workers people that are your neighbours, your friends and your life partners.
The single most astonishing fact that one is forced to accept is that the rights and services we all presumed to meet societys obligation to injured workers do not exist.
Working people were deluded into presuming that services first instituted in the sixties are still in place. People think that any sane government would take a working foundation and build on it.
The reality is the government of that era was not facing any form of restraint. Workers were building a new, industrialized province. Injured workers paid a horrendous cost but the system did have a program and both sides supported the end result WCB, the Workers Compensation Board.
People in a democratic society are also afflicted by the unrelenting desire for bigger, better, and the recycling of personal vendettas. This is a by-product of democracy not intelligence. Some governments will also use this current time of confusion to further their private agendas.
Gordon Campbell was only too happy to dismantle the WCB, what he perceived as a sacred cow of the socialist. His is a monetarily-based government where the only rule is to fill the government coffers. The human element is simply a factor that he is unable to judge.
Whenever a political entity is accepted or rejected, change, often profound change is rapid. The mistake made is when the impact of these far reaching changes is not coupled with far reaching vision. Governments too often fail to realize that their decisions hurt the very people it is mandated to help.