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August 29, 2007

Chairperson defends record of the WSIB

Response from WSIB to Letter to the Editor from P.C. Clare, "Candidate stances on WSIB important" (The Observer, Aug. 23, 2007)

Editorial - Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sir: Re: Letter to the editor from P.C. Clare, "Candidate stances on WSIB important" (The Observer, Aug. 23, 2007)

The letter is factually incorrect on absolutely every point. I will respond to each of the outrageous and irresponsible accusations directly to Ontario's MPPs as it would be too exhaustive a reply for this forum. However, there are several allegations made by P.C. Clare that I believe require immediate clarification.

The majority of Clare's accusations are obviously subjective and certainly unsubstantiated. While Clare has a right to express an opinion, it is my view that this does not include the right to irresponsibly castigate the men and women who strive every day to help injured workers. I am very proud of the staff of the WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) and their dedication to the work they do at every level within the organization is unparalleled.

The WSIB is committed to assisting injured workers to regain a meaningful and productive life. To suggest our efforts are responsible for injured worker suicides is both inflammatory and preposterous. If someone tragically takes his or her own life, we all lose. I can assure you, WSIB claimants are treated with dignity and respect and effective internal and external appeals processes do exist should they wish to see the decisions of our adjudicators reconsidered.

As the majority of Ontarians are aware, the WSIB is an agency of the provincial government responsible to the Ministry of Labour for implementing the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. We do not make laws; that responsibility rests wholly with the elected representatives of the legislature of Ontario. The WSIB is fully accountable to the Ontario government and our operations are subject to scrutiny by the Fair Practices Commission.

The WSIB chairperson's salary is not $700,000 per year; not even remotely close. I do this work because I am passionate about eliminating the carnage that occurs in Ontario workplaces every year. In fact, the position of chairperson of the WSIB is a part-time appointment by Order in Council of the provincial government. But I can tell you without fear of contradiction, I and everyone at the WSIB work on a more than full-time basis to help make Ontario's workplaces the safest in the world.

My door is always open to assist anyone in understanding the value the WSIB brings to Ontario's workers, injured workers and the employers who fund the system. Our number one mandate is to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities and we all need to work together to that end.

Finally to P.C. Clare I say this: Do your homework. Your unfounded statements have done more to hurt the cause of injured workers in Ontario than to benefit them. We all need to do more to eliminate workplace injuries and fatalities and to accomplish this we need to be honest. Your letter was at best misinformed and at worst dishonest. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are just horribly misinformed.

Steven W. Mahoney P.C.


Workplace Safety and

Insurance Board

Aug. 23, 2007 - injured worker asks questions about the WSIB to Ontario provincial election candidates in newspaper:
- Letter to the editor from P.C. Clare, "Candidate stances on WSIB important" - (The Observer, Aug. 23, 2007) -
Aug. 29, 2007 - WSIB responds negatively in letter to same newspaper:
- Response to P. C. Clare from WSIB Chairperson, Steven W. Mahoney, "Chairperson defends record of the WSIB" (The Observer, Aug. 29, 2007)
Aug. 29, 2007 - the CIWS responds to both letters:
- Response from the CIWS to the Sarnia Observer Editorials re: Mr. Mahoney (WSIB) and Mr. Clare's Letters - sent August 29, 2007 - (Published in the Sarnia Observer Set 5 2007)
Sept. 11, 2007 - PC Clare's response: All Injured Workers Need Fair Treatment
October 4, 2007 - PC Clare receives answers from Steve Mahoney and responds: Answers on WSIB insufficient

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