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- 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) 580-9838

- 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)

Canada-wide Media 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 house'.

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.

We feel this is exactly what is happening in many cases and we have received reports of such from injured workers.

Please visit our website at: to find out more about us.

The media release is copied below.

Jane Edgett,
President, CIWS

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 ( ) 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.)

2.) bypass the legal system by removing the requirement for a summary conviction before handing out fines to employers.
(The CIWS believes in the legal system of Canada and that all people have the right to a trial. WCBs should not be 'above the law'.)

3.) fine anyone for making 'false statements' without giving them the benefit of a trial.
(The CIWS believes in the legal system of Canada and that all people have the right to a trial. WCBs should not be 'above the law'.)

4.) be able to overrule FOIPP and HIPA - WCB wants to be able to overrule the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as well as the Health Information Protection Act.
(Considering the potential conflict of interest and the reported illegal activities
of the WCB in tampering with medical evidence, the CIWS believes this would harm injured workers' right to fair representation of their case.)

5.) have complete immunity from lawsuit - WCB does not want anyone to be able to sue them or any of their employees.
(Considering the long list of illegal activities reported to have been perpetrated by WCBs against injured workers,
which includes 'negligent' activities such as 'losing' critical medical information, the CIWS believes that WCBs should NOT be given the power to be 'above the law'.)

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.
(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.)

7.) decrease transparency of their investment practices - WCB wants to stop reporting securities held, purchased or sold during the year in their annual reports.
(Considering the conflicts of interest reported by the Auditor General of Manitoba regarding problematic investment practices by the WCB,
the CIWS believes that MORE transparency is called for in WCBs' investment practices, not less.)

(Excerpts are from the Saskatchewan WCB's submission to the 2006 Committee of Review - )

Jane Edgett, President, CIWS -- Canadian Injured Workers Society

- new page - "WCB Has An Identity Crisis"

- new section for "Related Articles". Can be accessed from the "Media" page at top and bottom right.

- 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 CBC article.

- The Saskatchewan WCB goes for a POWER GRAB in its submission to the 2006 Committee of Review.

- The CIWS has added a new section on WCBs lobbying for more power.


- Canadian HR Reporter - Published Sept 25th, 2006
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 legislation.

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 isn’t going to do wonders for a labour shortage.

Horror 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 Queen’s Bench, Justice MacLean said the board’s primary purpose was to protect employers by bringing uniformity, efficiency, expediency and cost-saving measures to accidents that occur in the employment relationship.

“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.”

Provincial 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 low;

•the provincial government as an employer avoids costs when workers’ compensation denies a provincial employee’s compensation; and

•provinces benefit from workers’ compensation “reserve” or “investment” funds, which are invested in their province.

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 workers.

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 equitable.

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 Canada’s global competitive position.

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 - What Injured Workers Are Reporting

- A new page has been added to this site - Is WCB Operating Outside of the Law?.

- A new page has been added to this site listing Commissions 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 compensated.

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
12:30 p.m. Monday, September 18, 2006
Crowne Plaza Don Valley Hotel
1250 Eglinton Avenue East Toronto, Ontario

July 2006:

- 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

Minister Shelley,

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 compensation.

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 states:

"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 WHSCC Act.

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 anyone.

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 involved.

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

- New page for Medical Professionals to document unethical practices surrounding workers compensation claim medical assessments.

- New links to HANSARD documents on "Politicians" page

- OPEN LETTER sent out to Paul Shelley, MHA, Newfoundland/Labrador Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment regarding the Baie Verte asbestos mine workers.

- a new page has been added to the CIWS website where injured workers can tell their story. This includes an online form to make it easier to tell your story. See

June 2006:

In June we sent out a generic media release:
June 14, 2006

For Immediate Release

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."

The 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 ‘historic compromise'.

There is money in the workers' compensation system and it is up to the government to make sure it goes to injured workers.

"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 is

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.
(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.

But 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 for more information. (Also see )

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 torment.

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.

D. M. Boyle, Canadian Injured Workers Society,

- The CIWS website now has a permanent home! The test website has been transferred to our permanent servers at Please update your bookmarks.

- 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.

- Permanent website hosting for this website (at ) 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 new memberships and you can contact the CIWS by email at We apologize to all members for this inconvenience.

February, 2006:

Eight-year battle with province ends in suicide

- Our petition is now online. Please sign it!




workers compensation Canadian Injured Workers Society for workers compensation reform

What's Wrong with Workers Compensation?

Injured Workers' Stories
About Us
Current Activities
Past Activities
Commissions & Reports
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Related Articles
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