- Conference of Canadian
Compensation Unions demand fairer treatment of injured workers BARRIE, ON,
Oct. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Reform of workers' compensation legislation was the top
of the agenda at the bi-annual meeting of the Conference of Canadian
Compensation Unions. The unions, which deliver services to injured workers and
represent 10,000 workers' compensation board employees across Canada, met in
Barrie October 26 - 28, 2006 to endorse a set of principles for the national
reform of legislation covering injured workers.
"It is a unique
opportunity for representatives of the employees of compensation boards to come
together to discuss how the provincial governments are failing to adequately
provide for the needs of Canada's injured workers", said Wilma Lewis, of the
Prince Edward Island Workers' Compensation Employees Union. "One of the
purposes of the meeting was to endorse a universal set of principles that
clearly state that all workers and all types of workplace injuries and
illnesses should be covered," said Sandra Wright, president of the Compensation
Employees' Union from British Columbia.
The principles call for a
comprehensive public system, which includes universal coverage, prevention of
injury and illness programs, including education programs for young workers,
indexed pensions and benefits, and coverage of all workplace injuries and
illnesses. "Our members deliver the services. We know the system and its
failures best. We know how to fix the problems - and we think it is time to
sound the alarm. Today we are launching a national campaign calling for the
reform of the workers' compensation systems in all jurisdictions across
Canada," said Harry Goslin, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE) Local 1750, which represents workers at the Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board of Ontario.
"This campaign will bring fairness and
equity to Canadian workers and their families, and reaffirm the historic
compromise, which balances the rights of workers and employers," stated Dave
Cutler, president of CUPE Local 1063, representing Manitoba Compensation Board
employees. Participants were representatives of CUPE and the National Union of
Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
For further information: please
contact: Sandra Wright, President, Compensation Employees' Union, British
Columbia, (604) 278-4050; Harry Goslin, President, CUPE 1750, Ontario, (416)
- more documents being added to the "Commissions &
Reports" page. Please help us by emailing us links of documents you think
should be posted there.
- WCBs engaged in
shock/trauma PR: Through October/November, WCBs in Canada are spending
employers' money on glossy PR spots and bloody, gory videos about
workers being injured. The CIWS is asking, "How does this shock/trauma approach
prevent workplace injuries or address specific workplace hazards directly?"
Shocking videos make good PR for WCB, but have little REAL effect on
workplace safety. Workplace safety would be better served if WCBs would
take workplace injury seriously and compensate injured workers because, when a
workplace injury claim is denied by WCB, that workplace hazard goes
uninvestigated. The CIWS believes that WCB has a conflict of interest when
it comes to regulating workplace safety. The organization that metes out
compensation should not be the same one that is in charge of workplace safety.
It is too easy to deny claims to save money, then just ignore the hazard that
caused the injury. The mandate for workplace safety regulation should be taken
away from WCB and given to Occupational Health departments in provinces that
don't already have that setup. But WCBs are lobbying for MORE power over
workplace safety (see: Sask WCB is lobbying to take
over all responsibility for workplace safety)
Release October 17, 2006 (also sent to Occupational Health and Safety
organizations in Canada and internationally)
The Saskatchewan WCB is lobbying to take
over all workplace safety regulation away from the Occupational Health
department. Today the Canadian Injured Workers Society has put out a
Canada-wide media release about the Saskatchewan WCB's submission to the
Committee of Review outling various problems we see. (see below).
Amongst these is the issue of who is responsible for workplace safety
prevention and regulation. The provincial workers compensation boards want to
be responsible for this. However, the CIWS disagrees. We feel that putting WCBs
in charge of workplace safety is like 'putting the fox in charge of the hen
The agency who metes out workplace injury compensation funds
should not be the one in charge of regulating workplace safety because it would
be too easy for them to avoid paying compensation by denying the claim and then
turning a blind eye on the safety violation that caused the injury.
feel this is exactly what is happening in many cases and we have received
reports of such from injured workers.
Power Grab! The Saskatchewan WCB Wants
Even More Power.
As increasing reports of abuse of injured workers
by workers compensation boards across Canada are received, the Canadian Injured
Workers Society ( http://www.ciws.ca ) is
concerned that the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board is following other
WCBs across Canada in lobbying for more power and less transparency in its
submission to the 2006 Committee of Review. (
Workers compensation boards were never intended to act like private
insurance companies. Their mandate was never intended to be profit; they were
created to compensate injured workers fairly and protect employers from costly
lawsuits. However, as members of American private insurance industry
associations, Canadian provincial WCBs are increasingly acting like private
insurance companies that have profit as their goal.
The trend toward
denying injured workers fair compensation in order to maximize investment
revenues illustrates this change in attitude.
In their race to become
more and more like private insurance companies, the workers compensation boards
are lobbying for more and more power so that they will be free from outside
scrutiny by government and the legal system.
Here are some of the ways
that WCBs are lobbying for more power.
At the 2006 Review, the
Saskatchewan WCB is lobbying to: 1.) take over all responsibility for
workplace safety from government Occupational Health and Safety departments.
(The CIWS believes that WCB should have NO jurisdiction over workplace safety
due to their potential conflict of interest in being funded solely by
employers. WCBs have a dismal record of workplace injury prevention - just
glossy PR with little substantive effect. Occupational Health and Safety
depatments should take over ALL responsibility in these areas from WCBs and be
given the full power of investigation and penalty administration.)
6.) deny retroactive compensation for workplace
deaths without review - WCB wants to 'close the book' on cases of workplace
death from 1980 to 2002 so that surviving spouses have no recourse for review
of the case. http://www.ciws.ca/saskatchewan_wcb_more_power_docs.htm#retroactive_death_benefits
(The CIWS believes that 'fairness is fairness', no matter how old the claim is,
and that surviving spouses should be able to have a claim reviewed.)
- Manitoba WCB does poor job in tracking down old
asbestos-related claim victims. "The investigators were given 124 names of
former Winnipeg employees dating back to 1972. Initially, they tracked down 19
of those workers and started a number of asbestos-related claims. But WCB
spokesman Warren Preece said Thursday they haven't found a single person since
then." - see
- The Saskatchewan WCB goes for a
POWER GRAB in its submission
to the 2006 Committee of Review.
Canadian HR Reporter, September 25, 2006 A
19th century solution to a 21st century problem (Guest commentary)
100-year-old WCB needs to be overhauled By Jane Edgett
Experienced workers who suffer long-term injuries and work-related diseases are
being denied compensation and, instead of focusing on a healthy return to work,
are being forced into an adversarial and lengthy appeals process where the
burden of proof is placed on the injured worker, contrary to the
The result is a worker who is further injured by the
workers compensation process itself, resulting in a decreased likelihood
he will ever return to work. And it is not just one worker who is lost to the
system. It is also his family members and friends who see the futility of
pursuing a career in high-risk professions when there is no support. Whether or
not these concerns are scientifically correct, perception is everything and the
pursuit of risky careers is in decline.
In an era where
many organizations are struggling to entice and retain experienced employees,
this isnt going to do wonders for a labour shortage.
stories from injured workers are rampant all over the Internet regarding their
treatment at the hands of workers compensation boards (WCB). They tell of
bankruptcies, divorces, inappropriate treatments, worsened medical conditions
and even suicides resulting from not only the inadequacy of compensation, but
from abuses caused by the adversarial process.
Why does workers
compensation do this? Because the system is paid for by employers who are
constantly lobbying for decreased premiums. The result is that boards look for
ways to reduce costs. The easiest way is to deny long-term claims or cut off
claims prematurely. In Wilson v. Medicine Hat (City), a 1999 ruling by
the Alberta Court of Queens Bench, Justice MacLean said the boards
primary purpose was to protect employers by bringing uniformity, efficiency,
expediency and cost-saving measures to accidents that occur in the employment
It cannot be said that the board is independent
insofar as the worker is concerned, Justice MacLean said. It is a
board set up to protect the employers. The board is funded by the employers,
and the board has a duty and probably a primary duty to protect the
employer this is not a level playing field, it is not fair, and it offends
the basic principles of natural justice.
workers compensation systems will claim more than an 80-per-cent
satisfaction rate amongst claimants. But the types of injuries represented in
this 80 per cent are likely the short-term, less serious injuries.
Injured workers say their specialists reports are being overruled by
doctors, nurses and even non-medical staff who are paid by the workers
compensation system. One doctor in Nova Scotia publicly reported coercion by
compensation board officials to deliver injury reports that agreed with board
findings rather than her evidence-based diagnosis.
Courts and appeals
tribunals in various provinces have repeatedly ruled against claim denials. Yet
compensation boards essentially ignore these decisions and further avoid paying
legitimate injury claims.
Uncompensated injured workers are taking
legal, political and media action and are naming names, quoting workers
compensation executive salaries and following investment money trails that show
conflicts of interest in workers compensation investment practices. They
are also identifying conflicts of interest that explain why provincial
governments are unwilling to address injured workers complaints. These
conflicts of interest include:
provinces attract business
investment and gain political support by keeping WCB fees low;
provinces gain political support by keeping workplace injury stats
the provincial government as an employer avoids costs when
workers compensation denies a provincial employees compensation;
provinces benefit from workers compensation
reserve or investment funds, which are invested in
One of the few things all parties can agree upon is
that nobody is entirely happy with the existing system. They all suffer to
varying degrees from the maze of injury and compensation rules, fee structures,
reporting systems, appeals processes and increasing complaints from injured
Some are so convinced the system is beyond rehabilitation
that they are advocating wiping the slate clean and starting over. The
workers compensation system is the oldest social safety net in Canada. It
started a century ago, before the Canada Pension Plan, employment insurance,
welfare, health care and before there was a globally competitive economy.
Some solutions are emerging. One idea is to create a single system for all
Canadian disability and injury compensation systems. Some see a base minimum
income as the solution and others argue paying for injury compensation should
not be the sole responsibility of employers. If taxpayers and employees became
stakeholders by paying into the system, it would naturally become more
The Canadian Injured Workers Society is advocating a
federal public judicial inquiry into the workers compensation system,
which is not only broken, but it also hampers Canadas global competitive
Jane Edgett is president of the Canadian Injured Workers
Society, an Saskatoon-based not-for-profit group seeking to improve
workers compensation. For more information visit
- A new page has been added to this site
and Reports. Updates to this listing will be ongoing. Please send in any
reports, etc., that you would like to see listed there. Just email us at
- The Victims of
Chemical Valley (VOCV from Sarnia Ontario) will be in Toronto on Monday,
September 18th to join the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) Executive Board
and Council for the unveiling of the painting 'The Long Journey' by Barbara
Millitt (chairperson for the VOCV). The painting reflects the tragedies,
traumas, and suffering of occupational disease.
Present will be members from the VOCV including widows
(ages up to 86 years) that are still fighting for compensation in occupational
disease. These claims have been 15 to 27 years in the Workplace Safety &
Insurance Board (WSIB) system and are still waiting to finish processing to be
The VCOV is a non-profit organization since 1998 and is made
up of workers, widows and family members fighting for justice and change in
compensation for occupational disease. We hope you will attend the unveiling of
'The Long Journey' and help our voices to be heard. CONTACT INFORMATION
Barbara Millitt Primary Phone: 519-332-0051 'THE LONG JOURNEY' - 1st
TORONTO SHOWING OF PAINTING BY BARBARA MILLITT, VICTIMS OF CHEMICAL VALLEY,
SARNIA 12:30 p.m. Monday, September 18, 2006 Crowne Plaza Don Valley
Hotel 1250 Eglinton Avenue East Toronto,
- OPEN LETTER sent out to Paul Shelley, MHA,
Newfoundland/Labrador Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
regarding the Baie Verte asbestos mine workers.
OPEN LETTER to Paul Shelley, MHA, Newfoundland/Labrador
Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
As Minister responsible for the Workplace Health, Safety and
Compensation Commission (WHSCC), it is your responsibility to ensure that the
WHSCC obeys its policies and legislation. By allowing the WHSCC to stall
compensation benefits to some of the Baie Verte asbestos mine workers who have
contracted various forms of cancer, by further studying the cancers in
question, would be contrary to the rules of workplace injury
According to the WHSCC Act, when a dispute arises between
the WHSCC and an injured worker regarding the cause of the injury or disease,
the benefit of the doubt should go to the injured worker. Section 61 of the Act
"Presumption 61. Where the injury arose out of the
employment, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, that it
occurred in the course of the employment, and where the injury occurred in the
course of the employment, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown,
that it arose out of the employment. "
Our experience with injured
workers across Canada has shown that workers compensation boards are
increasingly ignoring this 'presumptive status' and that they are using the
tactics of 'further study' to justify denying injured workers their right to
compensation under the legislation.
If the medical community has not
proven the link between gastrointestinal cancer and asbestos mining, it is not
the fiunction of the workers compensation system to deny the claim and study
the medical issue further. It is the function of the workers compensation
system to compensate the injured worker under the 'presumption' clause of the
By failing to enforce the WHSCC Act, Mr. Shelley, and by
allowing the WHSCC to disobey the legislation, you are showcasing your
disregard for the legislation as well as for your constituents. The excuse that
many politicians have given for not intervening is that workers compensation
systems are at "arms length" from their Ministry and that the Minister cannot
get involved in workers compensation decisions. This only leaves workers
compensation systems free to abuse their power without being accountable to
The Canadian Injured Workers Society is calling on you to
please instruct the WHSCC to immediately obey the legislation regarding
presumption and compensate all of the Baie Verte asbestos mine workers
Thank you, Jane Edgett, President, Canadian Injured
Workers Society The Canadian Injured Workers Society is a non-profit
organization committed to promoting fair and equitable compensation for injured
workers across Canada. For more information please contact: or
visit the society's website at http://www.ciws.ca
- New page for
Medical Professionals to
document unethical practices surrounding workers compensation claim medical
Ontario We are pleased to announce the official incorporation of the
Canadian Injured Workers Society. The CIWS has members from east to west
committed to lobbying for change to the Workers Compensation system in Canada.
The CIWS mission statement is - "To promote fair and equitable compensation for
injured workers in Canada, to address the mistreatment of injured workers and
to voice the common concerns of injured workers across Canada."
workers compensation system was started in the early 1900s before there were
any safety nets such as Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, the Health
Care system and Welfare. It started in Ontario and other provinces gradually
followed Ontario's lead. Mr. Justice William Ralph Meredith defined workers'
compensation as we now know it. One of the principles is known as the
historic compromise'- in exchange for a fair and speedy wage loss
compensation system, workers give up their right to sue employers for workplace
injuries and, in exchange for the protection from costly lawsuit and legal
fees, employers agree to fund the system.
The current provincial
systems are flawed for long term injured workers who are not getting the
coverage guaranteed them by legislation. The average taxpayer pays more for
health care, and other income support programs as compensation cuts off
claimants and sends them through lengthy appeals processes often lasting years.
If this fails, injured workers are left without further recourse due to the
There is money in the workers'
compensation system and it is up to the government to make sure it goes to
"Workers compensation boards have failed to do the
job they were mandated to do." said Jane Edgett, President of the CIWS. "There
is injustice across the system. Workers with long-term injuries are denied
access to the financial compensation and medical treatment that is owed to them
under our current system. The various compensation boards across Canada
routinely deny claims to cut back on their costs. These workers are injured
providing goods and services to Canadians. They are injured while contributing
to our economy. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and they
deserve the financial compensation legislation is supposed to guarantee."
The Canadian Injured Workers Society is a non-profit organization
committed to promoting fair and equitable compensation for injured workers
across Canada. For more information or to become a member please contact:
or phone 506-432-9115 or fax 506-433-1355. The society's web site
For media information contact Michael Farrance
705-696-3756. Media information is also available on our web site.
- Injured Worker organizing demonstration in
Newfoundland for July. MORE
INFO (This event was cancelled for interesting reasons - read linked
site for more info.)
- General meeting will be held online at the
society forum ( removed for archive ) on June 3rd. Please
sign up to
become a member and join in the discussions!
- Ongoing letters are being
sent out to a wide range of reporters across Canada.
- Media list is
being expanded and updated.
April 2006: April 28 is the National Day of
Mourning for workers injured or killed on the job. The CIWS put out a
Letter to the Editor to all newspapers in Canada as well as a longer article to
several newspapers and online outlets: (anyone wanting to become involved with
the media relations aspect of the CIWS is encouraged to join and email us at
On April 28th, as we mourn for those killed on the job,
we must also remember those whose workplace related deaths were slow and
agonizing. Most Canadians do not realize that if they are seriously injured at
work, their compensation is not ensured. Many seriously injured employees are
simply refused compensation and their subsequent physical, financial and
emotional suffering can be overwhelming.
When the workers compensation
system refuses to pay for long term injuries, they do more harm to the employee
and their family by thrusting them into a cycle of poverty and despair that can
lead to death. Some injured employees have even committed suicide.
the long term suffering of injured workers is no longer the primary concern of
the workers compensation system which has strayed from its original purpose
over the last century. It has increasingly downloaded its responsibilities onto
the worker's family and other social programs.
The Canadian Injured
Workers Society is questioning the functionality of the workers compensation
system as it exists today in Canada. As we mourn workplace deaths, the CIWS is
calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into wrongdoing by workers
compensation boards across Canada. Please visit http://www.ciws.ca for more information. (Also
see http://www.wcbcanada.com )
Jane Edgett, President,
Canadian Injured Workers Society
April 28th, National Memorial Day
Let us all
take a moment to mourn for the families who suffered the indignities of poverty
because their loved one went to work one day and didn't come home. For their
children who were denied the opportunities of higher education, the hopes and
dreams they had before their world was turned upside down.
Let us also
take a moment and mourn the loss of the workers who were injured on the job and
were denied their basic right of compensation, and after years of being denied,
the injured worker committed the most desperate act of suicide, to escape the
We should mourn the loss of natural justice that once existed
for working men and women, before our workers compensation systems became
profit making crown corporations for the provinces and the employers.
How has Our Canada become so cold-hearted, blindly ignorant, and negligent of
the very people who once took pride in their accomplishments by doing simple
things like going to work, raising a family, loving their communities?
Workers compensation (WC) propaganda has done a remarkable job of making you
believe you will be taken care of. That is their job, mandated by the provinces
and your current Premier and Minister of Labour (MOL). The truth of course is
never known, until you become one of us, and by then it is too late. You have
no Rights, they have been stripped by Acts written to close any loophole you
might think exist.
Our job as Workers and Injured Workers is to fight
for the living. WCB Acts and Health and Safety Acts are amended on a constant
basis in order to make us believe that injuries and deaths on the job are being
reduced. The statistics do not bear this out.
Who protects the rights
of the grievously injured human being? No one. It does not matter which
institution you appeal to, your province's human rights body, your fair
practices commission, your democratically elected MLA, they will all return you
to the offender, the WC.
Let us mourn the loss of our countrys
innocence. When dignity & honour, just compensation systems, moral fibre,
hard-won rights, and integrity were something to be proud of. The Crown, called
WC, mandated by our provinces, Premiers and MOL's have so much to be ashamed
of. Shame is now a by-product of doing business, easily shirked off like a
cape. The body and soul of Canada has been shamed by the very people we are
supposed to trust.
There will be many articles and letters written by
Injured Workers groups, full of statistics, and grossly unjust acts perpetuated
against IW's by our provinces, I would urge you to read them to get a clear
picture of how your rights have been so easily taken away from you, and almost
impossible to get back. These men and women who work tirelessly for fairness
and justice deserve our thanks and ongoing support.
Mourn for the
dead, mourn for the living and mourn for your country. Then rise up and take
heart from whatever source you can, to educate yourself, to contribute in a way
that takes back our rights. Without them, we are just another heartless,
souless corporation called Canada. IW's should not be acceptable collateral
damage, it is morally unethical. It is time for those who are our elected
change-agents to stand up, come forward, speak out and demand reform.
- The CIWS website now has a permanent home! The
test website has been transferred to our permanent servers at
http://www.ciws.ca Please update your
- Membership payment button has been fixed. Thank you to the
person who pointed this out to us!
March 2006: - The
CIWS forum has
been fixed and is back online. All interested parties are encouraged to
become a CIWS
member and then register for the discussion forum.
website hosting for this website (at http://www.ciws.ca ) is being established
and should be active sometime in early April.
- The CIWS is experiencing
technical problems with the online voting system. Repairs are in progress.
Members will not be able to access the CIWS forum area until this is resolved.
In the meantime, we are still accepting
and you can contact the CIWS by email at We apologize to all members for