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INJURED WORKERS - IT'S TIME TO BE HEARD!
See ELECTION WATCH for more info.

NEWS:
(SICKO! Explained)

VIDEO SENATE HEARINGS - The Failed Workers Compensation System and Poverty in Canada           Workers comp donation to rights museum rapped           McGuinty Reappoints Mahoney Despite Death Rebate 'Embarrassment'           McGuinty Reappoints WSIB Chair Mahoney Despite Call for Firing Over Deaths           PETITION re: Removal of "tyrannical" Privative Clauses          Letter to Gary Goodyear re: Federal Responsibility          NSGEU and CUPE Concerned about WCB Draft Policy          Suicide Blamed on Denied WCB Claim (US)          Darrell Powell and Dr. Lisa Doupe speak on WCB at the Senate          Doug Stanley, CEO of WorkSafe NB "not doing his job"          CIWS Press Release JULY 9 2009          Saskatchewan Worker's Life Worth $8000?          Sask Party Hides Workplace Accidents          Bullying and Medical Malpractice by WorkSafeBC VIDEO          Saskatchewan WCB Slapped By Privacy Commissioner          Forced Back To Work On Heavy Medications VIDEO          Alberta WCB Accumulates Surplus By Illegally Cutting Off Claims          Nothing Left to Lose VIDEO UPDATE          New York Addresses WCB Physician Fraud          Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence Champions Mental Injuries in the Workplace          US Supreme Court Flooded with Briefs in WCB Racketeering (RICO) Case          What WorkSafeBC Does to Workers Everyday          Depraved Indifference (US) AUDIO          BC worker disabled by chemical spills - denied compensation          Forced Back to Work on Heavy Medication          Nothing Left to Lose          Is This Where Canadian Workers Are Heading?          North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation. - WHY?          Wanted: a moral government          CIWS Submission to the Senate Subcommittee on Cities          BC Search and Rescue Suspends Operations After WCB Denial          When did the BURDEN OF PROOF shift to the worker?          CLC Calls On Provinces to Improve Their WCB Systems          MEDIA ADVISORY - IMPACTS OF WORKPLACE INJURY RELEASED          Canadian Senate Ignores Injured Workers in Report           Insurance Industry Opposes Injured Workers (US)          Disabled Atlanta Police Officers Mistreated by WCB (US) (VIDEO)          Injured Workers - IT'S TIME TO BE HEARD! Canadian Museum for Human Rights Holding Cross-Canada Public Input Sessions          WCB PROTEST RALLY June 15th, 2009, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, at WCB of Manitoba Offices, 333 Broadway Ave. Winnipeg, MB.          Toronto Star's "Working Wounded" Wins Award          WCB Act Not Compliant With NAFTA          2009 Important New Decision: BC Court Strikes Down Wcb Policy On Compensation For Mental Stress - Finds It Discriminatory Under The Charter          Amputee Abandoned by WHSCC (VIDEO)          Last Breaths Spent Fighting WorksafeBC After Campbell Cuts (VIDEO)          Injured Worker Assaulted by WCB Employee          WorkSafeBC Doctors are Corrupt          Insurance Companies Fight Legitimate Claims While Asking for Bailouts (US)          Is This Judicial Fairness?          9/11 Ground Zero Worker Battles Workers Comp (US)          No MLAs to mourn workers          Survivors and crew of sunken B.C. ferry still seeking compensation          WCB Age Discrimination Declared Unconstitutional (US)          Corporate Board of WorksafeNB "Out of Control and Unaccountable"           NEW AUDIO - Darrell Powell April 27 2009           BC Government WCB changes harm injured workers      & amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp;am;p; amp; amp; amp; #160;   Canadian Labour Congress - 2009          International Day of Mourning 2009 Message          Insult to Injury - BCFED recommends sweeping reforms          ONTARIO DISHONOURS DEAD WORKERS                                                                                    more                                 

News will not be updated. The CIWS website is an archive only.

AUGUST 2009:

NEW VIDEO - June 18 2009: - Darrell Powell and Dr. Lisa Doupe speak about workers compensation at the Senate Subcommittee on Cities -  SENATE HEARINGS - The Failed Workers Compensation System and Poverty in Canada (also hear Darrell Powell's full radio series)


JULY 2009:

Workers comp donation to rights museum rapped - Workers Compensation Board donates $500,000 to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Will this donation serve to muzzle the Canadian Museum for Human Rights regarding abuses perpetrated by the workers compensation board against injured workers? The CIWS has submitted a written document outlining how the workers compensation system in Canada violates the human rights of workers disabled by occupation.

(US) Injured Workers Denied Access to Decent Medical Care

The CIWS is now on TWITTER!

McGuinty Reappoints Mahoney Despite Death Rebate 'Embarrassment' - "McGuinty, who first named Mahoney to the WSIB post in May 2006, was under pressure from the opposition Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats last year to fire him after a series in the Star outlined problems at the agency. The paper's Working Wounded series found the WSIB was giving financial rewards to companies that had been prosecuted for worker deaths by another arm of the provincial government. Rebates that ranged from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars were being paid to firms even though they had been responsible for the deaths of employees."

McGuinty Reappoints WSIB Chair Mahoney Despite Call for Firing Over Deaths - After revelations that the WSIB paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in safety rebates to firms responsible for the deaths of workers on the job, labour organizations and others demanded that Steve Mahoney be fired as chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Yet Dalton McGuinty has reappointed him and Mahoney remains as chair of the WSIB. The CIWS sees this action as one that dishonours Ontario's dead workers. It also dishonours all those who have suffered a workplace injury or illness and have been denied compensation by WSIB. Thousands of Ontarians have had their claims and benefits denied and have been forced into poverty, mental and physical breakdown and suicide because of this. By his actions, Dalton McGuinty has demonstrated his disdain for the injured workers of Ontario.

PETITION re: Removal of "tyrannical" Privative Clauses by injured worker calling for removal of the Privative Clauses from all Workers’ Compensation Acts across Canada & United States of America. Privative clauses have allowed WCBs across Canada to break the law with impunity, and to make their decisions immune to appeal to the courts. In administrative law, a privative clause is a provision in a statute that tries to remove a court’s ability to review decisions of a tribunal (or other administrative agency) such as a WCB. Privative clauses demonstrate the tension between the power of the legislature and the courts. They are subject to much controversy because on the one hand, Parliament has the elected right to make laws for the electorate, and on the other, the courts have a constitutionally enshrined right to review and account for decisions. Justice William Orville Douglas of the US Supreme Court noted that privative clauses grant "tyrannical power" to administrative decision makers. - PRIVATIVE CLAUSE PETITION (please also sign the CIWS petition)

Letter to Gary Goodyear re: Federal Responsibility - re: The Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) - "It would seem the age old excuse concerning federal and provincial jurisdictional issues, will not suffice in this instance because your Ministry (science and technology) sanctions the AWCBC constitution and by-laws. . . . the provincial and territorial governments have been allowed by the government of Canada, to create and enact, unfair WC Acts and subsequent amendments, that, discriminate and penalize the D/W (disabled worker) and their family, simply because a workplace injury was suffered and resulted in either a partial or total permanent disability. Permanently D/Ws with accepted WCB claims, face a barrage of mental and psychological terror techniques applied by the WCB's, which in some cases are the cause of extreme secondary injuries i.e.; physical, mental, psychological and emotional wounding, which if left without proper medical, and psychological intervention, can and does lead to death and death by suicide. When will you Mr. Goodyear, as Minister of State (science and technology), begin to carefully scrutinize the activity of the AWCBC  membership and put a stop to harm being brought to Canadian citizens who have unfortunately suffered an injury resulting in a permanent disability, just by going to work? . . . when the WCB's clearly violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the various provincial and territorial Human Rights Codes, what is you Ministry and the Government of Canada prepared to do to stop this torture of the D/W?" ( The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using an insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims in Canada. We are calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

NSGEU and CUPE Concerned about WCB Draft Policy - "The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) is expressing concern about a draft Nova Scotia government policy paper affecting workers' compensation entitlements. . . . " The letter from the unions cites the Stanhope Manifesto and states (among other issues) "We are concerned that the WCB may be seeking to exclude certain types of accidents or conditions. We are opposed to any listing of circumstances when compensation would not be paid."

(US) Suicide Blamed on Denied WCB Claim - "The employers (WCB) insurance company’s representatives did all they could to minimize and delay Mr. Elliott’s medical care. His pain treatment and rehabilitation were manipulated by “nurse case managers”. . . . After years of battling the pain and inability to support his family Mr. Elliott walked into the office of his psychiatrist and stabbed himself with an ice pick." The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using an insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims. Also see SUICIDE and WCBWe are calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

Darrell Powell and Dr. Lisa Doupe speak on WCB at the Senate - POWELL: "With workers’ compensation, they are not accepting claims, period. It is a staggering rate of denial on claims. The medical criteria and arguments that they use to deny a claim are astounding . . . Workers compensation has changed dramatically since 2000, especially in British Columbia, which is leading the compensation systems and is homogenizing it to this new stylized version of compensation, which is predominantly focused to benefit the employer and the corporate sector. What they will accept is different and the tools that they use to measure health and disability are for the most part, quite unconstitutional." DOUPE: "The combative process is often because of the insurance need to manage numbers, whether it is cost or number of claims, then in the lack of this coordination and collaborative process, creates extraordinary delays in the actual processing of people's treatments and claims. The process in itself becomes an additional barrier to well-being and recovery. . . . I see this is as an opportunity for the ICF to be integrated as one of the options to be considered, not only for the compensation system, but also for other insurance systems."

Doug Stanley, CEO of WorkSafe NB "not doing his job" - "It's been almost five years since a laundry cart fell on Tammy Gray at Fundy Linen, and her pain has only worsened. . . . "The bureaucrats have done absolutely nothing since this decision to provide Tammy with a barrier-free residence," said Bob Davidson, a worker advocate, at LeBlanc's office Wednesday. . . . LeBlanc, Gray's MLA, has been trying to help the single mother for years. "We have bureaucrats out there who are hellbound to not look after injured workers like Tammy Gray," LeBlanc said. The person I'm blaming here, out and out, is Doug Stanley," LeBlanc said, referring to the president and chief executive of WorkSafe NB. "He's not doing his job. . . . "Dollars are being spent from the tax pot that should be spent by the workers' compensation board, and it's keeping their assessment rates artificially low," he said. "The public of New Brunswick are subsidizing the employers' responsibility of looking after injured workers."" ( The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using this type of insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims in Canada. We are calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

CIWS Press Release JULY 9 2009 re: WorksafeNB and Tammy Gray - ( The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using this type of insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims in Canada. We are calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

Saskatchewan Worker's Life Worth $8000? - Amongst the Occupational Health and Safety Prosecutions that were hidden by the Sask Party government for almost two years is the case of a company fined $8000 after the death of a worker. Another was fined only $17,250 for a workplace death. (CIWS: When corporations can pay for workplace deaths out of petty cash, does that help promote safety?)

Sask Party Hides Workplace Accidents - "The election of the Sask. Party government in November 2007 and a changeover in officials in occupational health and safety created some questions about disclosure policy. Publication of convictions in news releases and on the government website was formally stopped . . . NDP labour critic Andy Iwanchuk said . . . "It really puts in the question, how serious do they take this? Whatever the reason they have for doing it, it just doesn't cut it. We're talking about life and death,""

Bullying and Medical Malpractice by WorkSafeBC - VIDEO Woman's video series reports on medical malpractice and bullying perpetrated by WorkSafeBC against her seriously injured husband.

Saskatchewan WCB Slapped By Privacy Commissioner - " In virtually all other Canadian jurisdictions, WCB is subject to access to information legislation just like every other public body in those jurisdictions. In Saskatchewan however, the WCB has taken an interesting and, in our view, legally unfounded interpretation of section 171.1 of its enabling legislation to deny applicants access to their own personal information. Unfortunately, our office has no jurisdiction to put this before a court to have the question of interpretation resolved once and for all. In the result, there is a kind of stalemate, with WCB denying access requests routinely unless an appeal has been launched by the worker and the appeal is deemed proper and appropriate." (CIWS: What is the Saskatchewan WCB Trying To Hide By Illegally Denying Claimants Access to Their Files?)

Forced Back To Work On Heavy Medications - VIDEO " . . . Saskatchewan Workers Compensation has placed innocent families lives in DANGER by returning me to work on OXYCONTIN, MORPHINE, and several other drugs that have made my brain fuzzy, disorientated and unable to work safely in my job as a semi-truck driver in Saskatchewan"

Alberta WCB Accumulates Surplus By Illegally Cutting Off Claims - "There are many of these workers who simply give up fighting the system and commit suicide, apply for CPP disability or Social Assistance."

Nothing Left to Lose - VIDEO UPDATE - Part 3 - "WorkSafeBC Destroys Families" - June 25, family loses the children - Family loses house and children due to WCB wrongdoing. Follow the VIDEO DIARY of a family who has nothing left to lose.

(US) New York Addresses WCB Physician Fraud - "Some IME brokers (entities) have been caught red handed changing the findings and degree of disability of their own examining physicians. . . .As Dr. Samuels nonchalantly stated on video: "If you did a truly pure report....you'd be out on your ears and the insurers wouldn't pay for it. You have to give them what they want, or your in Florida. That's the game, baby." " (The CIWS contends that workers compensation boards in Canada are using false medical reports to deny legitimate claims. The CIWS is calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

JUNE 2009:

Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence Champions Mental Injuries in the Workplace - "Not all injuries are visible and we have to be very open about that, to come out of the shadows to embrace the treatment of these very real injuries," said Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway. "I'm very proud that the Canadian Forces are launching this program to do more, and we will continue to do more." (CIWS: Is this announcement a step toward addressing Canadian WCBs' discrimination against chronic stress diseases in the workplace? Will this translate into recognizing chronic stress diseases and PTSD in other sectors such as health care workers, firefighters, paramedics, and other high stress occupations? Will this translate into actual compensation for these mental injuries? For more information on chronic stress issues see: DISCRIMINATION - Denying Compensation For Occupational Diseases and MENTAL HEALTH / CHRONIC STRESS:)

(US) US Supreme Court Flooded with Briefs in WCB Racketeering (RICO) Case - "In a RICO case which will have profound impact on the national workers' compensation system, the defense bar has flooded the US Supreme Court with applications to submit amicus briefs. Pending before the US Supreme Court is a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a decision where: the employer, insurance company and their experts were found to have conducted themselves in violation of the RICO Act."

What WorkSafeBC Does to Workers Everyday - "The injured worker must go through the WorkSafe system, there is no alternative. We must rely on the honesty, purpose, and standards of this system, to deliver a future. . . . WorkSafeBC can, and does abuse people and their rights, with great impunity."

US: Depraved Indifference - AUDIO - A Look Inside the Workers’ Compensation System - Is the Workers’ Compensation system really there to protect us if we are injured on the job? On this Workers’ Comp Matters program, host Attorney Alan S. Pierce welcomes Dr. Patrice Woeppel to take an inside look at the ins and outs of the workers’ compensation system and discuss her new book, Depraved Indifference: the Workers’ Compensation System." - From LegalTalkNetwork

BC worker disabled by chemical spills - denied compensation - "Worker develops Multiple Chemical Sensitivity after exposure to numerous dangerous chemicals, but is denied worker’s compensation."

Forced Back to Work on Heavy Medication - VIDEO - "Saskatchewan WCB denies treatment and forces injured worker back to work on heavy medication."

Nothing Left to Lose - VIDEO - "Family loses house and children due to WCB wrongdoing. Follow the VIDEO DIARY of a family who has nothing left to lose."

Is This Where Canadian Workers Are Heading? Or are We There Now?- "A bakery in Spain is accused of turfing out an employee after his arm was ripped off in machinery — and then dumping the severed limb into a rubbish bin. . . . The bakery owner's son allegedly warned Mr Rilles not to tell doctors where the shocking accident took place. . . . By the time police located the 33-year-old immigrant's arm in a bin the following day, it was too late for it to be reattached by surgeons. . . . He said he worked 12-hour days at the bakery for the past 18 months, earning under A$40 a day." (Is This Where Canadian Workers Are Heading? OR ARE WE THERE NOW? SEE: "Hiding injuries rewards companies" - Star investigation reveals job safety numbers are under-reported, cutting employer costs. WSIB and labour ministry allow companies to hide dangerous workplaces When the WCB throws an injured worker out onto the street untreated and penniless, is it any different than this? Federal and provincial governments condone it by their inaction.)

North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation. - WHY? - "Dear Prime Minister Harper and any other Politician that claims to stand for Canadians . . . After all the searching that has been done by myself and other injured workers, we are curious as to why with the Free Trade Agreement that there is an agreement pertaining to labour, namely the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation. . . . Federal law mandates WCB in each Province, therefore Federal Government should police the actions if the provincial Governments do nothing"

Wanted: a moral government - "Tony Vincenzi is a former light house keeper (UCTE) and has been battling WCB and Sun Life since 2004. . . . "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. It’s 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 society’s obligation to injured workers do not exist."

CIWS Submission to the Senate Subcommittee on Cities - Since the Senate's final report that, disappointingly, did not mention workers disabled by occupation, there is a new opportunity to bring the poverty of injured workers' families to the attention of the Senate. The CIWS has made a submission to the Senate Subcommittee on Cities and Darrell Powell is also at the table. Hopefully, the report of this subcommittee will be more encouraging for the hundreds of thousands of affected workers and their families than the last report.

BC Search and Rescue Suspends Operations After WCB Denial ""Recent events have left the directors of Golden and District Search and Rescue (GADSAR) unclear as to the legal support provided by the authority with jurisdiction and the Provincial Emergency Program. . . . "The premise that GADSAR was built on was that the province would provide both Workers Compensation and legal liability to (Search and Rescue) SAR volunteers when it came to training and operational tasks. The current lawsuit against GADSAR and a recent Workers Compensation claim denial of a SAR volunteer in Cranbrook has left this organization questioning what this coverage actually entails. . . . We encourage all search and rescue teams in the province to fully understand what risks they are assuming when responding in good faith. . . . "Our organization would like the provincial emergency program to... answer the following questions regarding coverage for both WCB and liability . . . "

WHEN DID THE BURDEN OF PROOF SHIFT TO THE WORKER? - Why is it that workers must fight for the rights that they were promised by Governments and employers have a guaranteed right that they cannot be sued even if the injury, death or disease was due to gross negligence. It seems that workers rights have been eroded by Governments that have passed legislation that has illegally removed all workers rights that were a part of the historic agreement. For example; workers agreed to give up the right to sue in exchange for not having to prove their case in civil court. Somehow this agreement has been eroded so that rather than the "Board" having the burden of proof relative to causation, the burden of proof has been reversed and it is now the worker who has the burden of proof in proving causation. Even the courts somehow believe that the worker compensation board does not have the burden of proof, they believe that workers compensation operates under the strict rules of civil law rather than administrative law that pertains to workers compensation law. When did the burden of proof shift to the worker rather than the "Board" and when did this take place. Gerry Miller (long time WCB Critic)

CLC Calls On Provinces to Improve Their WCB Systems " . . . Workers' Compensation Boards are continuously bowing to corporate pressure to make changes that are not beneficial to workers. . . . The Canadian Labour Congress is calling for changes and supporting efforts to have workers' compensation improved across Canada. . . . The CLC is calling on our affiliates, federations of labour and labour councils to work hand in hand with injured workers' groups across Canada . . . to pressure governments in Canada to change workers' compensation where it has been clearly demonstrated that injured workers and their families are not being treated with the dignity and respect they are entitled. "

MEDIA ADVISORY - IMPACTS OF WORKPLACE INJURY RELEASED ( This study was done in Ontario but could apply to all provinces.) Some of the key findings of the report include:
  • Injured workers experience nearly 4 times the rate of poverty for Ontario.
  • 1 in 5 workers lost their home after injury
  • Incidence of subsidized housing more than doubled after injury
  • 1 in 5 workers are on social assistance after injury
  • 1 in 5 workers are living in extreme poverty post-injury (less than $10,000 per year) and 41% reported an income of less than $15,000/year.
  • a 13 fold increase in food bank usage post-injury
  • ¼ of injured workers lost their car
  • Almost half (46%) reported depression as a result of their workplace injury
  • ¾ of the local group have considered suicide
  • 2/3 report losing friends
  • 18% have lost family due to strained relationships

Canadian Senate Ignores Injured Workers in Report - Despite years of work by the community of workers disabled by occupation in bringing the health and poverty issues of injured workers' families to the attention of the Canadian government, the Senate Committee's final report ignored the injured worker community completely. Despite the exceptional work of Darrell Powell, the Subcommittee on Population Health of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology tabled its final report, “A Healthy, Productive Canada: A Determinant Of Health Approach” without mentioning the poverty and health outcomes of workers disabled by occupation even once.


MAY 2009:

US: Insurance Industry Opposes Injured Workers
The US insurance industry is opposing and attempting to strike down legislation that would create a National Commission on Workers Compensation. The commission would expose corruption within the insurance industry and shine a light on the routine delays and denials of legitimate injury claims. "This legislation would create a National Commission on State Workers’ Compensation Laws to study and evaluate characteristics of current state workers’ compensation schemes including benefit amounts, “bad faith delays” in benefit payments, provisions ensuring adequate medical care and free choice of physician, rehabilitation, filing periods, waiting periods, compulsory or elective coverage, administration, due process rights, and the relationship between workers’ compensation and other types of insurance (public or private)."( The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using this type of insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims in Canada. We are calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)


US: Disabled Atlanta Police Officers Mistreated by WCB

"They were drawn together, five broken Atlanta cops, in a shared sense of futility and anger. Four are in wheelchairs. One is brain-damaged. All say the city has brutalized them for the past two years by systematically challenging and delaying services and treatments they need to survive. . . .“The only way it makes sense is they want me to die so they’ll save money,” Ryan Phinney, a 43-year-old paraplegic who was injured when his squad car was T-boned in 1989, said in an interview last week. . . . “This pattern of abuse causes me to raise the question of whether this is due to incompetence, malice, deliberate indifference or a counterproductive attempt … to save money,” Arcangeli wrote." (The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using an insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims. We are calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)


Injured Workers - IT'S TIME TO BE HEARD!
Canadian Museum for Human Rights Holding Cross-Canada Public Input Sessions - "Help Write the Story of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Over the next 12 months, the Content Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be holding sessions across Canada to provide Canadians with the opportunity to help develop the content of the Museum. The aim of these sessions is to identify stories and perspectives that can be incorporated into the Museum, and to receive feedback on how the Museum can establish an ongoing dialogue with Canadians on important human rights issues. "(CIWS NOTE: The CIWS will be submitting a written document outlining how the workers compensation system in Canada violates the human rights of workers disabled by occupation but: SHARING YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORY IS ESSENTIAL to reinforce our message. Please visit the Canadian Human Rights Museum website to SHARE YOUR STORY and consider attending one of the cross-Canada public sessions over the next year.)


------------------------------
WCB PROTEST RALLY:
Monday June 15th, 2009 at 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
at WCB of Manitoba Offices, 333 Broadway Ave. Winnipeg, MB.

------------------------------

Toronto Star's "Working Wounded" Wins Award - National Newspaper Awards Winner for Investigations: David Bruser, Moira Welsh and Andrew Bailey of the Toronto Star for, 'Workplace Victims' a probe into WSIB safety rebates to firms where workers died. The Toronto Star's "Working Wounded" investigative series into this and other issues resulted in outrage and calls for the firing of the WSIB executive and a complete overhaul of the WCB system in Ontario (which has not yet happened).

WCB Act Not Compliant With NAFTA - "Why did the Canadian government allow the province of Ontario to create the WSI Act 1997 . . . the Act and the attached Bills are noncompliant with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and . . . (it) . . . exempts WSI Act 1997 from respecting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada (charter) and the Ontario Human Rights Code sections 1 & 5 and by doing so allows for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to perpetrate age discrimination of the disabled by occupation . . . In essence the D/W (disabled worker) is moved into a provincial WSIB subculture where human and charter rights are further disseminated by the WSIB." (CIWS NOTE: This type of age discrimination has been found unconstitutional in the US, yet is widely perpetrated by Canadian WCBs against elderly disabled workers.)

2009 Important New Decision: BC Court Strikes Down Wcb Policy On Compensation For Mental Stress- Finds It Discriminatory Under The Charter "The B.C. Court of Appeal has struck down the restrictive application and interpretation of mental stress claims in British Columbia. . . In short, the Court of Appeal found that those suffering from mental disability were treated differently from those suffering from physical disability, and that the differential treatment constituted discrimination under Section 15 (of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms). . . The Court noted that access to compensation and benefits was significantly restricted in comparison with workers suffering physical injuries. . . This important decision broadens the current approach to mental stress claims under workers’compensation legislation not just in British Columbia, but potentially in other jurisdictions in Canada with similar legislation." (CIWS NOTE: This decision does not address "workload" related chronic stress, so, although it is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough in addressing discriminatory treatment of chronic stress diseases in the workplace by WCBs. For more information on chronic stress issues see: DISCRIMINATION - Denying Compensation For Occupational Diseases and MENTAL HEALTH / CHRONIC STRESS:)

Amputee Abandoned by WHSCC (VIDEO) - "A St. John's woman who lost part of her leg in a workplace accident says she feels stranded and ignored in a home with no ramp. Shirley Ryan . . . has trouble leaving her house because she cannot exit the steep steps to her door. Apart from losing her livelihood, Ryan, who had a below-the-knee amputation on her right leg last month, has been missing therapy sessions because of her lack of mobility. . . Ryan's "safety in and around her home is of paramount concern."

Last Breaths Spent Fighting WorksafeBC After Campbell Cuts (VIDEO) - From video: "I've been dignosed now with asbestosis. . . . I'm wasting away. I've lost about fifty pounds in the last four months" . . . "Asbestosis is the #1 occupational killer in BC today but in 2002 the Gordon Campbell Liberals changed the WCB Act. One of these changes prevents any retiree over the age of 65 from receiving a disability award for any illness, injury or disease. Sadly, an asbestos related disease takes up to 40 years to become detected." . . . "It's an extremely painful and it's a terminal disease . . . Some of them are spending their last years of their lives in extreme pain and extreme agony" . . . "some of them are spending their last breaths fighting a system when they should be spending their retirement with some dignity . . . the employers are getting a holiday from this exposure and the workers are spending their last days fighting it in pain and agony . . ." "Gordon Campbell . . . cut 1/3 of WCB regulations" . . . "They look the other way when people are dying" (Age discrimination by WCB has been found illegal in the US, yet Canadian WCBs are routinely engaging in this type of activity. See WCB Age Discrimination Declared Unconstitutional in US)


Injured Worker Assaulted by WCB Employee (VIDEO) - "After he registered for the meeting, Federko said Taphorn was informed by registered letter that he would not be allowed to attend the WCB AGM in Regina. . . . When asked to leave the hallway outside the convention, he refused to leave. Taphorn said a WCB employee then gave him "two hard pushes,'' causing him to reinjure his back. "I don't like getting assaulted,'' Taphorn said."

WorkSafeBC Doctors are Corrupt (VIDEO) - "They will sell their professional morals and ethics to the highest bidder."

(US) Insurance Companies Fight Legitimate Claims While Asking for Bailouts - ". . . insurance companies are now fighting 9/11 workers comp claims harder than ever . . . insurance companies fight legitimate claims with one hand, while asking for taxpayer bailouts with the other. Disgusting!"

Is This Judicial Fairness? - "I have a court date (May 26th) set by the Court of Queens Bench for a Judicial Review via private chambers where I will attempt to have an Appeals Commission decision overturned . . . the Appeals Commission is represented by their own lawyer, Sandy Hermiston who is paid out of the accident fund and the "Board" is represented by Curtis Craig who is also being paid out of the accident fund which legally belongs to workers . . . yet any worker who cannot afford legal counsel are forced to represent themselves . . . Is this judicial fairness when workers are forced to go before the courts without knowledgeable legal counsel because of lack of finances as opposed to the Appeals Commission or the "Board" who use the money from the accident fund in a frivolous manner to intimidate a worker who dares to question the unfairness of the appeals process . . . ? "

(US) 9/11 Ground Zero Worker Battles Workers Comp - "Ground Zero worker Daniel Arrigo, health and home gone, awaits some compensation . . . For 9/11 responder Daniel Arrigo, trapped in a broken body, every day is a battle. A battle to breathe, to make ends meet and to get what he says is his due."

No MLAs to mourn workers - "On the morning of April 28, . . . The Liberal incumbent MLAs, Mary Polak and Rich Coleman, were not there. . . . Our absent MLAs may . . . consider discretion the better part of valour. Maybe they had the good grace to be ashamed of the devastating effect that their 2002 legislative changes to the WCB compensation system have had on the injured workers in our province. Certainly, there would be no plaudits for the Liberals from today's audience who have seen insult added to injury"


APRIL 2009:

Survivors and crew of sunken B.C. ferry still seeking compensation - A BC Ferries worker who barely escaped the sinking Queen of the North ferry says that after three years of struggling with mental and physical injuries, she is now battling a government agency to have her compensation extended. . . . Lynn Cloutier says she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, which often leaves her shaking and unable to sleep. . . she is also fighting for support, as WorkSafeBC gets ready to end her compensation benefits. . . She said she used to love her job, but now, three years after barely escaping with her life, she doesn't know what she will do if she loses her workers compensation, and she cannot bring herself to return to work once again.

(US) WCB Age Discrimination Declared Unconstitutional - "Utah's high court says workers' compensation cannot be reduced because of age."

Corporate Board of WorksafeNB "Out of Control and Unaccountable" - "Unions Warn Of More Suffering And Higher Costs - Organized labour is painting a bleak picture for the future of injured workers and employers in the province if the Workers Rehab Center in Grand Bay-Westfield is privatized. In the latest round of the battle -- Canadian Union of Public Employees national rep Mike Davidson says services to injured workers will be cut while employers will pay 15-percent more -- and -- he says it's time for a full debate in the Legislature because the corporate board of Worksafe N-B is out of control and unaccountable. Davidson says the Worksafe N-B board has been working on the deal behind closed doors with consulting those involved -- he says it's time for an open and transparent process."

NEW AUDIO - April 27 2009: - Darrell Powell speaks about workers compensation on CFRO COOP radio on the day before International Workers' Memorial Day -  (high speed)  (low speed
(also hear Darrell Powell's full radio series)

BC Government WCB changes harm injured workers B.C. Federation of Labour report "shows that controversial changes made by the Campbell government to the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) have resulted in massive cost-savings for employers but has come at a profound cost to injured workers. “This Report shows the Campbell government’s changes to WCB were based entirely on the false claim that the existing compensation system was unsustainable,” says Jim Sinclair, President of the Federation. “Employers lobbied hard for these changes and they have been rewarded with huge cost-savings that have destroyed the lives of seriously injured workers.” . . . “Employers are saving hundreds of millions of dollars because seriously injured workers are being denied the compensation they need while disability claims and workplace fatalities continue to rise,” Sinclair added. "

Canadian Labour Congress - 2009 - "How many more of us have to be killed before governments finally take action?"

International Day of Mourning 2009 Message IWAAC - "It is part of the sad history of the WSIB that continues to this day, that the WSIB does not recognize huge chunks of the industrial cancers that kill many workers. . . . Canadian workplaces are consistently among the worst offenders for killing workers compared to most other industrialized countries. . . . And when we are seriously injured at the workplace the depraved indifference demonstrated to workers and families by the WCB's across Canada is unconscionable, unethical, unreasonable, unprincipled and outdated. So why do our pleas to stop this carnage fall on our governments deaf ears? "

NATIONAL DAY OF WCB HYPOCRISY
"Has anyone in our governments across Canada provincial or federal, taken any time to see if those families were treated with respect from the authorities in charge? . . . Since when have the deceased been able to get out of their graves and tell the truth about how their families were treated by the WCB? . . . If you cannot trust your Governments to protect you from its own creation, (the vultures at WCB), then just who can you trust?"

APRIL 28th International Workers' Memorial Day
(National Day of Mourning)


Canadian Labour Congress - 2009
"How many more of us have to be killed before governments finally take action?"



see: ONTARIO DISHONOURS DEAD WORKERS

SIGN THE PETITION!
The CIWS is calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into wrongdoing by workers compensation boards across Canada
"These are not minor failings - they are festering injustices. . . . Thousands of workers whose health has been undermined by their work are not receiving any compensation. . . . a fundamental national rethinking of workers compensation is required . . ." Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Insult to Injury - BCFED recommends sweeping reforms A report released by the B.C. Federation of Labour states that legislative and policy changes to the BC Workers’ Compensation System from 2002 - 2008 have been "dramatic", "universally detrimental to injured workers" and "particularly devastating for those rendered unable to return to their former jobs as a result of permanent disabilities". The report recommends sweeping reforms of the BC workers compensation system.

ONTARIO DISHONOURS DEAD WORKERS - "The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and other groups demanded that Steve Mahoney be fired as chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) over revelations that the province has paid safety rebates to companies prosecuted for the death of workers on the job. (see articles regarding "experience rating" further down this list). Since then, Steve Mahoney remains in charge of the WSIB, thus dishonouring Ontario's dead workers on this APRIL 28th International Workers' Memorial Day (National Day of Mourning). - last year, Gerry Miller, longtime WCB critic said, "Strange how they can set aside a day to honor the millions of Ontarians whose lives have been forever changed by a workplace injury, illness or fatality and then not acknowledge the millions of Ontarians who have had their claims and benefits denied, forced into poverty, suicides, marital breakdowns. Set aside one day to honor workers and then back to business as usual for the rest of the 364 days. Talk about hypocrisy." The statement still applies one year later.

NATIONAL DAY OF WCB HYPOCRISY - APRIL 28th International Workers' Memorial Day (National Day of Mourning) - "Has anyone in our governments across Canada provincial or federal, taken any time to see if those families were treated with respect from the authorities in charge? . . . Since when have the deceased been able to get out of their graves and tell the truth about how their families were treated by the WCB? . . . If you cannot trust your Governments to protect you from its own creation, (the vultures at WCB), then just who can you trust?"

WCB Minister Iain Black Ignores Petition "The petition is from thousands of working people who are asking the government to repeal changes that have been made to the WCB laws that have drastically affected benefits and pensions for permanently disabled workers. While the petition was being introduced and read to the legislature, the Minister responsible for these laws, Iain Black, was seen cleaning his desk and then using his Blackberry before walking out of the House, before the presentation was complete."

WCB Bows to Corporate Lobby - Erodes Late-Night Violence Safety Regulations WorkSafe BC "more concerned with the bottom line for business than it is with providing workers with greater protections."

(US) A World of Hurt - Investigative Series into New York WCB - (VIDEO also available) A World of Hurt ‘Meatball Justice’ - A New York Times examination of New York State’s workers’ compensation system uncovered a universe of delays, suspicion and questionable rulings. . . . Mary Jeffords, the head of Injured Workers of New York, an advocacy group, says she knows of numerous disabled workers so ground down by the process that they begin to unravel. “I’ve talked to workers that held a gun to their head as we talked,” she said. . . ."One case that seems to exemplify the broad faults is that of Richard Frank, a forklift driver . . . the agency prolonged his case for years, ignoring judges’ orders, according to court rulings. . . . After a September 1995 hearing was adjourned because his employer had furnished illegible evidence, Mr. Frank . . . died of a heart attack. He was 50. For a decade, the agency then contested whether his widow was due death benefits, until an appeals court ruled in 2005 that his death had been caused in part by the agency’s “unlawful coercion” and “disgraceful conduct” in resisting his claim." The series also exposes Independent Medical Examiners (IMEs) falsifying medical records to satisfy insurance companies. (Also see linked VIDEO) (The CIWS contends that workers compensation boards in Canada are perpetrating this type of psychological violence upon injured workers and is criminally using false medical reports to deny legitimate claims. The CIWS is calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)


MARCH 2009:

Judge Chastises WCAT For Stigmatizing and Attacking Injured Worker Regarding language used by the WCB Appeals Tribunal (WCAT) the judge stated: "This language is incredibly broad and strongly suggestive of a pre-formed opinion, or of a finding of lack of credibility on the part of Mr. X (the worker). It certainly does not reflect the conclusions of Dr. Y, psychiatrist. It is also inconsistent with the conclusions of Dr. Z, none of whom made any allegation of malingering despite each of them having assessed the petitioner numerous times. . . . I have concluded that it was patently unreasonable and unfair for the Vice Chair in this appeal to have commenced his reasoning with what appears to be an attack on the petitioner’s credibility without any detail or context being provided."

Toronto Star's "Working Wounded" Nominated for Award - The Toronto Star's "Working Wounded" investigative series into WSIB safety rebates to firms where workers died (and other issues) is being nominated for the National Newspaper Awards. The investigative series by David Bruser, Moira Welsh and Andrew Bailey of the Toronto Star resulted in outrage and calls for the firing of the WSIB executive and a complete overhaul of the WCB system in Ontario (which has not yet happened). The 2008 National Newspaper Awards will be announced May 22 in Montreal.

Gravelle Admits Impotence to Address WSIB Claims Denials -Responding to the issue of Silicosis "epidemic" yet only 7 claims accepted by WSIB, Gravelle writes public letter stating "As a Cabinet Minister, there are good reasons why I cannot speak about or interfere with current WSIB claims. . . ."

CIWS Submission to Mental Health Commission Highlights WCB's Institutionalized Psychological Violence - "The Canadian Injured Workers Society's submission to the Mental Health Commission of Canada regarding its "Framework For A Mental Health Strategy For Canada states -"The CIWS has evidence that workers disabled by occupation are a vulnerable group of Canadians who experience institutionalized psychological violence, discrimination and stigmatization from workers compensation boards across Canada. Workers compensation boards' discriminatory, stigmatizing and abusive treatment of persons disabled by occupation are "factors that increase risk of mental health problems and illness". It is an example of institutionalized psychological violence and MUST be investigated. . . . If, as the framework states, "the most effective anti-stigma strategies are targeted at specific populations or settings", the CIWS puts forth 'workers disabled by occupation' or 'injured workers' as a specific population that experiences stigma. We also put forth the workers compensation system across Canada as a specific setting where stigma has become an institutionalized norm. This whole area of Canadian mental health is in crisis. If we, as a society, ignore these cases, we are allowing institutionalized psychological violence to occur in our country. Workers compensation boards MUST be investigated and all cases of psychological violence must be exposed."

(US) Supreme Court To Review Workers Comp Racketeering - "Can employers, claims administrators, and workers' compensation carriers be sued under federal racketeering laws for their questionable claims handling practices? . . . Experts from Sedgwick CMS said the case should raise a red flag for employers who meddle with the claims review process. In guidance issued to its clients, the claims management organization encouraged employers to review their patterns of usage of independent medical examiners. . . . it certainly will serve as a lesson and a deterrent for employers and claims administrators who communicate too closely with the doctors they hire to do workers' comp medical exams. If their discussions center on how workers' comp claims can be denied, they may be open to RICO conspiracy litigation." (The CIWS contends that workers compensation boards in Canada are also engaging in this type of criminal activity and is calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

Silicosis "epidemic" yet only 7 claims accepted by WSIB - "MPP backtracks on need for silicosis inquiry - Gravelle, who is now Ontario‘s minister of mines, looked seriously flummoxed on a recent CBC television program when cornered about the issue of unresolved silicosis claims at the province‘s Workplace Safety Insurance Board. Not that Gravelle didn‘t know the file. In the detailed and passionate letter he wrote to former Tory Labour Minister Bradley Clark seven years ago, Gravelle warned of an outbreak of silicosis cases and pleaded with Clark to call a public inquiry into the disease. “Please, Minister, call a public inquiry into the silicosis epidemic in the Hemlo gold mines and show your commitment to doing the right thing for the workers of Ontario,” Gravelle (L-Thunder Bay-Superior North) said in the letter. That, apparently, was then; this is now. "

Audit slams Ontario workplace safety rebates - "The provincial insurance program that is supposed to promote safe workplaces needs to be immediately fixed and possibly replaced, says a sweeping review that could affect tens of thousands of Ontario businesses. . . . Workers remain at risk unless this and other changes are made "as soon as possible," the review warns. . . . Morneau Sobeco began its look at the program last June, after the Star revealed companies guilty of fatal safety violations received large cash rewards – a practice Premier Dalton McGuinty called "an embarrassment." And around the time Morneau Sobeco started its review, the Star revealed companies were saving money by hiding injuries and rushing the wounded back to work."

"Not Worth The Effort" - Mahoney Denies WSIB Fraud - "Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) chair Steve Mahoney dismissed suggestions Wednesday that far too many companies are cheating a program geared to promoting safe work environments. . . Mahoney responded to an audit released Wednesday that claims many employers are exploiting the WSIB's incentive initiative at the expense of injured workers. . . The review, commissioned by the WISB, claimed a significant number of firms save money by hiding injuries and rushing injured employees back to work. . . . "I don't buy this stuff that there is fraud and whatever fraud there is it's not worth the effort and the money it would take for us to root it out," Mahoney charged."

WSIB needs major makeover, review says - "The provincial insurance program that is supposed to promote safe workplaces needs to be immediately fixed and possibly replaced in the future, says a sweeping review that could affect tens of thousands of Ontario businesses."

Student Documentary Seeks Injured Workers "We are looking for injured workers in the Toronto area who would like to share their experiences with us."


FEBRUARY 2009:

(US) Insurers are underpaying injured workers - "Something we have known for awhile: Insurers are underpaying injured workers . . . The Pioneer Press has reported that a recent audit by the Minnesota Legislative Auditor has found that insurers are mishandling a growing number of claims, including paying injured workers less than they deserve. . . The report from the legislative auditor released Wednesday said mistakes are resulting in about $3 million a year in underpaid benefits, and there’s other evidence that insurers are trying to avoid legitimate payouts. . . The report lays part of the blame on what it describes as a lack of oversight resources at the state Department of Labor and Industry. . . The audit also faults the state labor department for shortcomings in the enforcement of laws mandating that employers provide workers’ compensation coverage. " (The CIWS contends that workers compensation boards in Canada are also engaging in this type of criminal activity and is calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

Performance Bonuses for Forcing Disabled Workers Back to Work - "For those of you who have wondered if WCB employees receive performance awards when they send injured workers back to work, you can now be assured that they do in fact receive blood money for sending disabled workers back to work when they are not able to return to work. In many cases a primary care doctor will fill out Form C-050 indicating their patient is not capable of any work and the Case Manager will obtain a second opinion from a WCB Medical Advisor who provides a dissenting opinion. The Case Manager would thus be eligible for a performance award by ignoring the primary care doctor's opinion and informing the disabled worker that they must return to work, thus fulfilling her commitment in forcing a disabled worker back to work when they are not capable of performing any work. Great system we have eh! - Gerry Miller"

Deaths are just "the price of doing business" - WorkSafe fines too soft? - Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, says WorkSafe BC’s safety infraction penalties are much too low to provide a deterrence to keep workers safe, and are viewed by some companies as the price of doing business. He was commenting on a WorkSafe report that detailed the 152 penalties it issued in 2008. The largest fine issued in 2008 was $150,000, to Encana Corporation in Dawson Creek after a workplace fatality. TimberWest was fined $67,936 for the 2005 death of faller Ted Gramlich, 52, of Crofton, and Catalyst’s pulp mill in Campbell River was fined $75,000 for exposing workers to asbestos debris.

Workers are paying the ultimate price "Cam was a kind and gentle man and a good friend who suffered much in the end. He paid the ultimate price because he took work to raise his family and in doing so was carelessly exposed to a deadly industrial substance. . . . This is more than a tragedy. The dangers of asbestos were well-known in the years this worker was exposed, but were minimized and belittled by many owners, management, and the peddlers of asbestos alike. . . . The tragedy of all of this is the Governments also know that workers are exposed on a daily basis to deadly carcinogens, deadly toxins, musculoskeletal disorders that lead to permanent disabilities, yet Governments stick their heads in the sand and refuse to fix a system that is causing grievous harm to workers and their families. They also stand by when these claims are illegally denied by workers compensation boards . . ."

"Chronic Pain" Judge Appointed to Supreme Court Amidst Controversy - Bypassing any and all Parliamentary process, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed Thomas Cromwell to the Supreme Court of Canada. Given that Judge Cromwell's decision in the Chronic Pain case of (Martin, Laseur vs WCB) was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003, this appointment does not bode well for the recognition of the Charter rights of injured workers. In 2000, Judge Cromwell as judge of the Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia ruled that the WCB Appeals Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of the WCB Act and Regulations. In 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada overruled Cromwell's decision and concluded that he ". . . erred. . ." in that decision and that ". . . the courts must assume that the administrative body at issue was intended to be an appropriate forum for . . . the interpretation and application of the Charter." The significance of this case for all subsequent decisions by WCB Appeals Tribunals across Canada was immense as it reinforced the duty and the responsibility of all WCB Appeals Tribunals (and other Administrative Tribunals) to interpret the Charter rights of claimants when making their decisions.

CBC NEWS VIDEO: WCB Keeps Disabled Man in Poverty for 30 Years - "Thirty years of doing battle with workers compensation has made Fred Palmer a very angry man. He says it's kept him spinning in a viscious circle of poverty. . . Palmer was seriously injured in a railway accident thirty years ago. Among his stacks of documents are any number of letters by doctors declaring him disabled. All he has to show for it is a disability pension of $200 a month. He says all his efforts to get more have run into red tape and slammed doors . . . he feels his right to justice and happiness has been taken away."


MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA SEEKS INPUT FROM CANADIANS - "The Mental Health Commission of Canada today released a draft framework for the development of a mental health strategy for Canada. It is also asking for input from Canadians. Toward Recovery and Well-Being is the first document to be released for public discussion by the Commission since its creation in 2007." (The CIWS will be submitting input and urges all injured workers across Canada to strengthen our message by submitting their own personal input. We suggest that you describe VERY BRIEFLY how the WCB process has affected you and your family psychologically. The more input they receive, the stronger our message will be. Please refrain from using abusive language that would only harm our cause,)

(US) AMA Guides Not Valid - "California workers' comp has recently experienced an earthquake-type event, the Almaraz decision. . . . may be the most significant workers' comp decision in several years . . . In Almaraz the WCAB . . . found that an impairment rating under the AMA Guides may be rebutted . . ."

“The message is clear – worker’s lives are cheap” - "Workplace fatalities or serious injuries are happening more frequently in B.C. . . . “WCB can levy fines up to $519,000 but their fines have never come close to that amount,” Sinclair said. “In order to protect workers these fines have to be a real deterrent, not a minor item line that is barely noticed by employers. WCB needs to ensure that the owners ... pay this fine. If not, they need to be prosecuted and sent to jail.”"

(US) VIDEO - The Federal RICO Act & The Injured Worker (The CIWS contends that workers compensation boards across Canada are engaging in this type of criminal activity and is calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

Illegal Use of CPP Funds by Alberta WCB - "Auditor General Sheila Fraser responds to allegations that ". . . contributions to Canada Pension Plan are being used as a slush fund by Workers Compensation Boards of Canada to illegally provide disability payments to disabled workers . . . "

WSIB decision clears cop's name - Peace, justice at last - "Now, after years of fighting the system for closure through truth, Eddie Adamson's family has finally been told by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) that it had finally accepted the true cause of Adamson's death. And it was not suicide. It was post traumatic stress disorder. "What we did in pursuing the WSIB was not just for us. It was more to help the widows and widowers of other police officers who may one day take their own life," said Eddie Adamson's daughter, a detective on another police force. "And it was for my father's good name."

(US) Racketeering Charges For Workers Comp Denials - "Forget gambling, drug trafficking and prostitution. The latest organized "crime," according to the 6th Circuit, is conspiring to defraud injured employees of their workers compensation benefits. . . . Employers alleged to have schemed with their insurance carriers and/or physicians to deny workers compensation can now be sued under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Although RICO originally targeted criminal organizations such as the Mafia and Hells Angels, counsel warn that Brown v. Cassens Transport Co. exposes legitimate businesses to RICO litigation and intrusive discovery into their handling of workers compensation claims. . . . the ruling should "raise a flag of caution" for any self-insured employers, insurance adjusters and doctors who might appear to reflexively deny workers compensation claims. . . The plaintiffs contend that the company deliberately selected doctors who could be relied upon to provide medical opinions supporting decisions to cut off or deny benefits. The defendants vigorously deny the allegations. . . Marshall Lasser, the attorney who represents the plaintiffs in Brown, contends there are doctors who earn six-figure incomes by frequently turning thumbs down on valid workers comp claims. . . . "I believe in Michigan alone there are thousands of workers over the years who have been made to suffer horribly because of the actions of insurance companies in wrongful, fraudulent termination or denial of claims, and fraudulent opinions by doctors," Lasser says. . . ."RICO has very big sticks," Lasser notes. Because plaintiffs must prove a pattern of racketeering, RICO permits "wide-open" discovery beyond the specific claims pleaded, he maintains. And if the case goes to trial, he warns, "I am going to discover every single comp claim that ever existed in the past four years ... so it’s going to open a real can of worms." (The CIWS contends that workers compensation boards across Canada are engaging in this type of criminal activity and is calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into these and other issues.)

Canadian Injured Workers Society PETITION reaches 1001 signatures on February 1st 2009. The CIWS is calling upon all concerned Canadians to sign the petition calling for a FEDERAL PUBLIC JUDICIAL INQUIRY into wrongdoing by workers compensation systems across Canada.


JANUARY 2009:

Critics denounce `farcical' training plan - Conservatives seek audit of costly classes that don't help workers - "A Star investigation raised serious questions about the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's jobs program. After developing severe ashtma at the factory where he used to work, Nelson Fachola was given 18 months of retraining at a cost of $33,000 - but remains unemployed. "

(US) Suicide, the injured worker, and WSI - ". . . The part that sends many seriously injured workers over the edge is the fact of how they are treated for being injured workers. Many injured workers companies try to write them off as fast as they can if the injured worker can not return to the same job as before. . . Also dealing with workers compensation harassment, worrying about your family, worrying about losing your benefits for “non-compliance”, dealing with pain that many people can not imagine every day. These things might draw an injured workers closer to that cliff, and some over it. . . . WSI concentrates on the fastest way to remove an injured worker from the system as they can, even if it leads to their untimely death. They have as much concern for injured workers as meat processing plants have concern for getting that next cow, or pig through the gate to slaughter. . . This has become a game of how much money can we save WSI, give back to the employers, while sending seriously injured workers into a job that pays less then $10k a year. Wow, no wonder some think suicide might look so good."


WORKER'S SUICIDE Linked to WorkSafe BC at Coroner's Inquest - ARTICLE
The January 16, 2009 verdict at the coroner's inquest into the suicide death of Mr. Kang, an injured worker, linked the suicide to:
  • sudden suspension of benefits by WorkSafe BC
  • video surveillance of Mr. Kang by WorkSafe BC
  • inadequate consultation with Mr. Kang's physicians
  • inadequate claim management processes
  • uneducated WorkSafe BC staff
  • confrontational, confusing letters to Mr. Kang from WorkSafe BC

and other issues outlined in 17 recommendations. Lawyer Craig Paterson who asked for the inquest stated "The WCB has treated him as a cheater and a liar since he was badly injured in a truck accident in 1998 . . ." The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using an insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims. Also see SUICIDE and WCB

Injured worker's VIDEO:

(US) Occupational Exposure to Chemicals - DENIED BY WCB - ". . . Ed Abney . . . spent more than 20 years cleaning metal piping with trichloroethene (TCE) at a defunct Dresser Industries plant. . . . He now suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which is pretty clearly linked to this chemical, but he can’t recover anything under Kentucky’s Workers Comp. law."

Concussion's Effects May Linger for Decades - Attention, memory, physical processes affected 30 years later, study finds - ". . . I hope that this study will prompt workers to request reconsiderations based on a denial of their claim for permanent disability due to what would be post concussion syndrome. - Gerry Miller"

(SPAIN) Proof That Privatization of Workers Comp Won't Work - "Some deaths are not recorded - According to official figures no one dies from an occupational disease in Spain. . . . This is really amazing! . . . The experts . . . have estimated that . . . work in Spain killed no less than about 14,000 men and over 2,000 diseases contracted by women in the workplace. . . . very serious underreporting has been increasing in recent years. . . a scandalous underreporting. . . why does this happen? . . . To answer those questions, we have to look who benefits and who suffers from this situation. Start with those who benefit. And very first appear Employers Mutual . . . Today these mutual funds are among the most important private money in Spain. Economic and political power is enormous."

WSIB Labour Market Reentry (LMR) - A Jobs Program That Fails - "A jobs program that fails - Why does it cost more to retrain this injured worker to stock shelves than it would to send him to university for four years? . . . a Toronto Star investigation has found that the $150 million program is running up increasingly high costs while failing to lead nearly half of its 5,000 participants to work. . . . Since 1998, the WSIB has outsourced the LMR program to claims management firms. Companies such as Crawford Healthcare Management, Sibley & Associates and NRCS Inc. . . . None of the companies mentioned in this article would agree to an interview. . . . Shortly after the retraining is done, the WSIB assumes the worker is fit to find the designated job, and often significantly reduces or stops the benefits. Whether the worker finds a job does not matter."


DECEMBER 2008:

(EGYPT) Injured worker on hungerstrike - From todays issue of el-badeel: A worker at the Kom Ombo Sugar Refinery was on hungerstrike yesterday in protest against the refusal of the company's doctor to approve sick leave after a serious work injury. As a result, the worker has not received his salary for three months. In a petition to the governor of Aswan 150 workers at the company accused the doctor of charging a special fee from every sick worker visiting the company's clinic. (Note: The CIWS follows these stories as a warning to Canadians that our workers compensation system is deteriorating toward these levels as corporate profit increasingly outweighs the rights of people injured at work.)

NOVEMBER 2008:

Injured Worker Charges Manitoba Government with Misfeasance regarding his WCB claims. Charges include: acting in bad faith, breach of duty to care, differential treatment under the Charter of Rights, physical, psychological and financial damages, interference with physician and medical treatment, breach of the WCB Act and misfeasance. The CIWS will be following this case. (C108-01-58851)


OCTOBER 2008:

Public policy for the prevention and compensation of mental health problems related to work: issues of importance for women - Katherine Lippel CRC in OHS Law, University of Ottawa, International Congress Women, Work and Health, Zacatecas, October, 2008

(USA) Injured Workers' Racketeering Charge to Proceed - Injured Workers' RICO Claim to Proceed Against Employer and Insurance Company - (RICO is the US Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) "In a landmark decision of immense national significance, the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a RICO claim brought by injured workers against their employer, insurance carrier and employer medical expert could proceed. . . . The allegations included that, ".....Cassens and Crawford deliberately selected and paid unqualified doctors, including Margules, to give fraudulent medical opinions that would support the denial of worker’s compensation benefits, and that defendants ignored other medical evidence in denying them benefits."

NDP Opposes WHSCC Privatization - "WHSCC privatization plan a disservice - The proposed privatization of Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission amounts to the selling out of New Brunswick's injured workers. . . . Shame on them! Privatization of the WHSCC will lead to a staggering decrease in services and accessibility. Privatization will result in fees for service, increased wait times and increased claims periods. It will mean a "cream skim" of healthier patients to avoid the costs that come with treating our injured workers. . . . Privatization will result in a decrease in accountability because of its complete undermining of the Meredith Principles, the cornerstones of worker's compensation." (SEE September 2008 news article: Compensation Privatization Feared)

(USA) California WCB Insurance Fraud - "Are California’s Injured Workers Going to Have to Go to Federal Court to Enforce Their Rights Against Insurer Fraud? - . . . Injured workers for years have accused state officials of simply looking the other way when evidence of these illegal acts has been brought to their attention. Are federal RICO actions the new strategy in our states to hold employers and insurers accountable for their fraudulent and illegal practices? . . . Why can’t those whose job it is to protect us from these vicious predators simply step forward and do their jobs? Now that’s the $64,000 dollar question, isn’t it? . . . What happens to the false statements that these (medical opinion-for-hire) doctors make to support the insurance companies who know that their reports are simply not worth the paper that they are printed on? . . . It’s time for the print, radio and television media to do their jobs as well and expose this rampant fraud and corruption. Too many working Californians are having their lives and the lives of their families destroyed all in the name of corporate profits!" (Note: The CIWS does NOT advocate the privatization of workers compensation in Canada as that would be even worse for injured workers. The decline in service that we see in Canada can be attributed to the misguided adoption of insurance industry business models from the US that should never have been applied to the Canadian workers compensation system. The CIWS advocates complete reform of the system to return it to a fair and responsive service that addresses the needs of injured workers and their families. This can be done without privatization. See WCBs Have An 'Identity Crisis')

WCB discrimination against psychologically disabled workers identified - The Institute of Health Economics conference on depression identified the discrimination of psychologically disabled workers by workers compensation boards at their conference October 17th, 2008. The conference involved a variety of presentations from leading Canadian and International researchers in the field and was led by the Hon. Michael Kirby Chair, Mental Health Commission of Canada. They produced the Consensus Statement on Depression in Adults which stated "Similarly, employment insurance, workers’ compensation and short and long term disability benefits must ensure equitable access for persons living with a mental or a physical illness." (The CIWS has pointed out how provincial governments are in a conflict of interest when they allow the WCB to deny chronic stress claims due to workload in hospitals and schools. This allows them to understaff their hospitals and schools without having to face workplace safety inspections. The Final Report of The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology ("Out of the Shadows At Last" - May 2006), stated: "The Committee . . . . recommends . . . that the Canadian Mental Health Commission . . . work closely with provincial and territorial governments as well as with Workers’ Compensation Boards, employers and trade unions across the country to develop best practices with respect to compensation for occupational stress-related claims."

(USA) Workers' comp class action filed - "The original petition, . . . alleges that 'workers' compensation insurance is supposed to provide prompt, fair and just compensation for injured employees in accordance with Texas Labor Code §402.021 but the DWC fails to deliver on those goals. . . . In some cases, claimants have waited up to 14 months to learn the results of a claim hearing and have had to turn to Medicare or the Social Security Administration for medical help, Durkin says. 'Dozens and dozens of workers have been bullied out of the workers' compensation system because they need medical treatment,' she says."

Canada Disregards NAFTA Public Disclosure Law The Canadian National Administration Office (NAO) failed to release a public report 120 days after review of Public Communication CAN 2008 1 on labour law matters in the state of North Carolina, USA as required by law. The public communication process under the NAALC allows citizens to voice their concerns to governments about labour law matters arising in the territory of another party, and provides a formal channel for governments to review these concerns. CAN 2008-1 alleges that the United States has failed to meet its obligations under NAFTA surrounding several labour issues including "compensation in cases of occupational injuries and illnesses". The CIWS is concerned that the Canadian government is failing to make this report public in order to evade scrutiny of its own dismal record on workers compensation. The Federal Government of Canada is under international treaty obligation to ensure that workers compensation is being provided to Canadian workers. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) stipulates that the signatory countries must uphold "high labor standards" and includes in this, "compensation in cases of occupational injuries and illnesses" (under its side agreement NAALC, the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation) (see PETITION)

MEDIA RELEASE - Transcript of "The Election Show" on CFRO Co-Op Radio, hosted and produced by Darrell Powell where he grilled Jack Layton, Elizabeth May and Carolyn Bennett on behalf of Stephane Dion - neither Duceppe nor Harper made themselves available - on their positions on a national health strategy. Powell said: ”The need for a paradigm shift in health, which must be integrated with social and other federal policies to determine national standards, should be a significant election issue”. “Insurance Companies and Workers’ Compensation should not be steering the health system and government agendas”, he said. Health outcomes must be measured by national standards, established by the federal government based on recommendations by the World Health Organisation and its position on the social determinants of health. (also hear Darrell Powell's complete radio series at http://www.ciws.ca/articles_bc_worksafe_darrell_powell_coop_radio.htm )

New Brunswick Avoids the "Compensation" Word - The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission of New Brunswick (WHSCC) has changed its name to "WorkSafeNB" symbolically distancing itself from its compensation function. (Workers disabled by occupation have pointed out a common tactic used by politicians and WCBs who refuse to address the dysfunctionality of the workers compensation system itself. This avoidance tactic has been referred to as the old "bait and switch", where any mention of the failure of the WCB to address disabled workers' 'compensation', is "switched" to a discussion about workplace 'safety' because 'safety' is an issue that no one can argue against. This name change is a reflection of the workers compensation systems' avoidance of addressing fair compensation for injured workers. Other provinces' WCBs have also changed their name to avoid any mention of "compensation". )

(USA) Insurance Industry Sabotages Injured Workers - "Here's how the protected scheme works: . . . insurance companies may retain Utilization Review (UR) companies to review the treatment that has been provided as well as the treatment that is being recommended or prescribed. . . . The AMA and ACOEM cookbooks allow UR doctors who have not interviewed or examined injured workers to review treatment proposals and to delay, deny, or modify treatment. UR doctors are allowed to overrule properly licensed doctors who have spent hours with their patients. . . . Insurance companies and their compliant utilization review companies may use doctors whose bent is to deny as much care as possible. . . . Governor Schwarzenegger's judgment is that the interests of the insurance industry deserve priority over the interests of injured workers and their pesky doctors. " (Note: The CIWS does NOT advocate the privatization of workers compensation in Canada as that would be even worse for injured workers. The decline in service that we see in Canada can be attributed to the misguided adoption of insurance industry business models from the US that should never have been applied to the Canadian workers compensation system. The CIWS advocates complete reform of the system to return it to a fair and responsive service that addresses the needs of injured workers and their families. This can be done without privatization. See WCBs Have An 'Identity Crisis')

Inadequate Compensation For Comatose Mushroom Workers - "Before the accident, Truong and her husband were already struggling to stay afloat on Tchen's meagre monthly wage of $1,500. . . . Five days after the accident, Chuck Puchmayr, NDP MLA for New Westminster, was shocked to find a homeless Truong virtually camped out in the hospital's intensive care unit. . . . Truong, whose family lives in Toronto, has since moved into a hotel where she is barely scraping by on provincial compensation totalling $1,350 a month - or 90 per cent of her husband's pre-injury earnings."


SEPTEMBER 2008:

Veteran Firefighter with PTSD Made Homeless by Alberta WCB - "Greg McDougall served on the front lines in Calgary for nearly 30 years and in 2001, he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. The disorder was caused by his job and he couldn't work at all. Eleven months later the WCB cut off his payments and within a year McDougall was homeless." (ALSO SEE: Psychological Profiling And Mental Damage Of Claimants and DISCRIMINATION - Denying Compensation For Occupational Diseases)

WCB's Burden of Proof Leads to Worse Health Outcomes - "Compensation may be bad for your health: study - Proving you're ill slows recovery, researcher finds - The workers compensation system . . . may actually lead to worse outcomes for some patients, concludes a new Canadian study. . . . The authors speculate that the process of having to battle for redress may delay some patients from returning to work, and say there is evidence of a similar phenomenon with other types of injury. "Once you make a patient have to prove they're ill, it slows down the recovery process," said Dr. Jeremy Beach, an occupational medicine professor who spearheaded the study. . . . "You have a lot of instances where injured workers don't return to work because of the fact they're worn down, they're depressed, they're stressed." . . . WCB patients were off the job more often because of their fight to be compensated."

(AU) Injured worker's 'plot to blow up Coles' - "A disgruntled Coles worker who planned to destroy a Sydney supermarket after stockpiling chemicals and explosive devices told police that he did not intend to hurt anyone, a court has heard. . . . The court was told the final straw came after a disappointing outcome at the Workers' Compensation Commission in June, prompting a "violent outburst", police said." (Note: The CIWS is not interested in sensationalizing tragic cases and we do not condone or encourage violence, but we report incidents that may involve injured workers in order to expose the level of frustration and desperation many injured workers reportedly feel about the WCB system.)

NEW AUDIO - THE ELECTION SHOW September 24 2008: - Darrell Powell (Senate Witness 2004 Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology) identified the issues of disabled workers to the leaders of the federal parties to get their comments and platform policies for the show which aired on CFRO 102.7 FM Vancouver
In Order of Appearance: Elizabeth May (Green), Jack Layton (NDP), Charles Boylan (Marxist Leninist), Caroline Bennett (Liberal) - other main parties invited but failed to attend
SEPTEMBER 24 2008 -  (high speed)  (low speed)  (also hear Darrell Powell's full radio series)

WSIB's New Policy Still Gives Rebates to Companies That Kill - "Star investigation prompts WSIB change. Companies where a worker is killed on the job will no longer be eligible for cash rebates from the provincial workplace insurance program. The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) made the change after a Star investigation found the agency paid out millions of dollars in rebates, prompting a sweeping year-long review of the incentive program at the centre of the controversy. Premier Dalton McGuinty called the Star's findings "an embarrassment." . . . "Money speaks volumes," said Heffern, whose husband worked (at) Vale Inco. . . . In the year of Gordie's death, Inco received a rebate of $3 million – nearly 10 times the amount of the fine the company paid after the labour ministry investigated and Inco pleaded guilty for its role in the accident. . . . But the new policy would not have hit Weston's bottom line the way it would have Inco's . . . In devising the policy, the WSIB decided not to go after rebates in the years after a death, during that three-year window in which a claim's cost is tracked. . . . In the three years after Warner's death (an employee of Weston Bakeries), Weston received more than $1.3 million in payouts, far more than the $215,000 it was fined after pleading guilty to not implementing a heat stress management plan."

WCB Wastes Money on Needless Self-promotion - "The CTF cited more than $8,500 spent by Workers Compensation on golf balls and manicure sets . . . The Workers Compensation Board, however, isn't funded by tax dollars but instead by premiums paid by employers, . . . "When you hear of government agencies and Crown corporations handing out golf balls, manicure sets, pocket knives, golf shirts, lip balm and those kinds of things, they're certainly unnecessary. Unlike businesses, Crown corporations and agencies aren't competing with anyone." "

'PRESS RELEASE - MHADIE - Paradigm Shift' in International Disability presented at European Parliament on 16th September 2008- A new framework for supporting health and disability policy in Europe - Final EU Project's results and Policy Recommendations presented at European Parliament on 16th September 2008 . . . This project's results are of great interest to those concerned with health and disability issues, as well as the larger scientific community. . . "For the first time health and disability issues have been approached not merely from a narrow clinical perspective but from one in which environmental, psychological and quality of life aspects of the total lived experience have been also taken into account. MHADIE researchers developed a framework to influence and support new European policy guidelines on health and disability . . . and used ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) as a cross-cutting universal framework and international standard. The ICF provides a new framework for conceptualizing health and disability. An important aim of the MHADIE project was a workable and generic definition of disability, one which reflects the view of MHADIE researchers that disability is a universal, human condition, not the distinguishing mark of a separate, minority group. . . "Understanding how to respond to the needs of people with disabilities means understanding how to influence social and economic policies as well as designing specific tools to combat discrimination and promote social integration and participation, thus enhancing opportunities." (See new CIWS section on INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY STANDARDS - (Disability Standards and the Social Determinants of Health as they relate to Workers Disabled by Occupation))

Self-professed nasty guy battles WCB over his retraining - "Brutal self-candour laudable and refreshing in this self-reverent age - Last week, we received an e-mail from a Delta man named Terrence Norfolk about his fight with the Workers' Compensation Board. We regularly get e-mails from people about their fights with the WCB, but Norfolk's e-mail stopped us in our tracks. . . . It was his admission of his own nastiness that intrigued us . . . He could be, he said when I talked to him in his apartment, a real ass----. . . . It wasn't always so, he said: his work injuries changed him."

Research Action Alliance on Consequences of Work Injury (RAAWCI) is holding a Community Forum Thu, Sep 25, 1pm – 5pm at Injured Workers Consultants, 815 Danforth Ave., Suite 400, Toronto, ON (The CIWS has listed RAACWI as an organization that is funded and/or controlled by a WCB and so it is a partially corporate-funded research agency which may or may not be tainted by this funding relationship. The Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury is administered through the University of Toronto and organized by the Bancroft Institiute, an organization that does not reveal its funding structure publicly. RAACWI is also allied with the WCB-controlled Institute for Work and Health - see Questionable Research and Medicine)

(USA) Californians Injured At Work Goes National, Changes Name To Reflect Their New Direction! - Californians Injured At Work, one of the oldest and largest injured worker advocacy organizations in California has announced that they are now serving not only the injured workers of California, but the injured workers of America thru their newly incorporated non-profit organization, the 'National Organization of Injured Workers, Inc.' (NOIW) . . . NOIW's primary goal is to aid, assist, educate, empower and organize America's occupationally injured workers, and to keep them from becoming victims . . . To stop the rampant unchecked fraud by committed by insurers . . . America's injured workers have been demonized by the insurance industry for too many years as the ones that cause the high price of Workers' Compensation insurance and that's just plain not true, but it makes great PR spin for the insurance industry publicists. Injured worker fraud by the industry's own admission is less than 1%. And we're just starting to hear about employer fraud . . . The Exclusive Remedy Doctrine' which is the basic foundation of Workers' Compensation systems around America is simply used as a shield against civil and criminal prosecution for criminal acts committed by the insurers that would land them in jail in any other type of scenario. . . . Noticeably missing in print, radio & TV media is any reference to the biggest segment of fraud, the biggest overall piece of the pie, the fraud perpetrated by the insurance companies themselves against occupationally injured workers in the name of reducing their financial exposure, and the total lack of investigation and prosecution of those responsible for it. . . . The 'Injured On The JobTM' television show is used to visually show the devastation that is occurring to injured workers and their families.

WorkSafe BC Fatality Investigation Questioned - "Inspection cuts linked to farm deaths, says labour leader - The president of the B.C. Federation of Labour says Friday's fatal accident at a Langley mushroom farm might have been prevented if WorkSafeBC had not dramatically cut inspections. . . . Federation president Jim Sinclair is questioning the WorkSafeBC investigation into the accident. "On one hand they're doing the investigation, but they also could be part of the problem at times too, because for many years there they cut back their inspections dramatically," said Sinclair."

Nova Scotia WCB Consultation Sessions - Interested stakeholders are invited to provide input into the development of the WCB’s multi-year plan during one of the consultation sessions.

(TOKYO) WCB Denies Compensation For Workload Induced Mental Injuries - "Japan suicide letters spell out risk of overwork - "Don't go to work" reads a poem written by a Japanese boy for his father who killed himself after suffering from depression caused by working too much. . . The letters are part of an exhibition in Tokyo organised by a mental health organisation to highlight the risk of "karoshi", or death from overwork, in a society that treasures hard work. . . Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world: more than 30,000 suicides every year since 1998. Last year, five times more people killed themselves than died in traffic accidents. But less is known about the role of work in those suicides. A Health Ministry report last year notes a strong link between depression and habitual overwork . . ." (The CIWS has pointed out how provincial governments are in a conflict of interest when they allow the WCB to deny chronic stress claims due to workload in hospitals and schools. This allows them to understaff their hospitals and schools without having to face workplace safety inspections. The Final Report of The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology ("Out of the Shadows At Last" - May 2006), stated: "The Committee . . . . recommends . . . that the Canadian Mental Health Commission . . . work closely with provincial and territorial governments as well as with Workers’ Compensation Boards, employers and trade unions across the country to develop best practices with respect to compensation for occupational stress-related claims."

WSIB's New Service Delivery Model (NSDM) Inadequate - It looks like more of the same under a new banner. WSIB's NSDM does not address deeming. It does not address fairness. It does not address adequacy of compensation. It does not address false medical diagnoses. It does not address contentious retroactive cases. It just addresses 'improved timelines', 'service excellence' and 'financial sustainability'. In the past, buzzwords such as those have translated into . . . 'how to get the injured worker off the payroll as soon as possible.' The outcome of this new model in the real world remains to be seen.

Compensation Privatization Feared - Injured workers, Labour official circulating petition that will be presented to legislature - "Injured workers are not for sale . . . Earlier this summer, Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission president Doug Stanley said the Grand Bay-Westfield rehabilitation centre has the chance to become a world class facility, but only if it is operated by private interests. . . . "We don't think that's a good thing for injured workers," says Ron Oldfield, president of the Saint John District Labour Council". . . . "anyone going through the door with a little money could take precedence over an injured worker. That's our biggest fear." (says Leah Logan-Guimond, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 946.

Is the Workers Compensation System Committing Murder? - In light of the recent World Health Organization Report that states "Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale" - Here is a quote from Frederick Engels (1820 - 1895): "When society places workers in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life, places them under conditions in which they cannot live – forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues which is the inevitable consequence – knows that these thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual; disguised, malicious murder, murder against which none can defend himself, which does not seem what it is, because no man sees the murderer, because the death of the victim seems a natural one, since the offence is more one of omission than of commission. But murder it remains." - quote taken from "Engels and the WHO Report" by Susan Rosenthal, author of the book "Power and Powerlessness - Social Power is Necessary for Human Health"

Inequities Killing People on "grand scale" - WHO Report - "Social justice is a matter of life and death. . . Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale. . . All people need social protection across the lifecourse, as young children, in working life, and in old age. People also need protection in case of specific shocks, such as illness, disability, and loss of income or work." from World Health Organization Commission on the Social Determinants of Health - Report of Aug 28 2008 - "Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health.


AUGUST 2008:

(AU) WCB Statistics Grossly Under-represent Mental Health Injuries - "Work-Related Depression Affects 21,000 In Victoria - By comparison, 30-times fewer workers receive workers’ compensation for stress-related mental disorders, suggesting that workers’ compensation statistics grossly under-represent the true extent of the problem."

(USA) How to practice medicine without a license - "Doctors not licensed to practice medicine in California are allowed to practice medicine in California as long they restrict their decisions to injured workers who claim on-the-job injuries. This convenient niche is favored by insurance companies and acquiescent utilization review companies retained by the insurance companies. They argue that utilization review doctors aren't practicing medicine. . . . The review doctor has authority to deny, delay or modify treatment. The doctor who does the review may refuse to authorize the MRI even though the review doctor will not have interviewed or examined the injured worker. Under California law, review doctors without California licenses are allowed to overrule treating doctors even though the treating doctor is licensed to practice medicine in California."


New International Disability Standard a 'Paradigm Shift' - Going before the European Union's Parliament Sept 16 2008, the MAHDE recommendations will fundamentally change the concept of disability from ICDH(1980) to the ICF(2001). MAHDE (Measuring Health and Disability in Europe) has brought together international institutions and researchers to demonstrate the application of the ICF model in the collection of health and disability data. ICF, the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, is a cross-cutting, universal framework and international standard that constitutes a paradigm shift in our understanding of disability. It underscores the need to integrate individual functioning with the complete physical and social environment in order to capture the full lived experience of disability that links health and social policy to promote social integration and increase participation, thereby enhancing opportunities for persons with disabilities. They Identify barriers to recovery and have shown that data currently being collected, nationally and internationally, embody conceptual confusions, inconsistencies and ambiguities about disability and the relationship between health conditions, impairments and environmental factors.
MHADIE (Measuring Health and Disability in Europe) - website
MHADIE policy recommendations 2008 (PDF)
ICF - The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health and the ICF Primer


Bullying is a N.B. workplace health issue - "New Brunswickers who have been targeted by a workplace bully say there is nowhere to turn. . . . Harassers, on the other hand, rarely pay a price for their behaviour. . . . the New Brunswick Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission needs to get involved. Bullying is recognized as a health and safety issue in other jurisdictions such as Quebec. . . . While sexual harassment is forbidden by human rights laws, psychological harassment, as bullying is also called, is not covered unless it can be shown to be motivated by the victim's race, sex or one of the other prohibited grounds for discrimination recognized by law."

(South Africa) 'Doc's ditched after undesirable diagnosis' - "When medical specialists diagnosed at least 10 cases of manganese-specific illnesses at a factory in Cato Ridge, KwaZulu Natal, the Assmang manganese company dumped them "like hot potatoes". They replaced them with a new team of doctors that revised the diagnoses to suggest the sick workers might be alcoholics, drug abusers or victims of Aids. . . . Another 27 workers, also earmarked by doctors as possibly suffering from manganism, were also "cleared" by the new team of medical doctors and some were put back to work. . . . Tager said she believed it was unethical to send such a patient back to work and be exposed to further manganese toxins. "

WSIB Denies Magna Cancer Victim - "No award for Magna worker - WSIB panel sends cancer victim home empty handed - "Cancer victim Eamonn Murphy says working at Magna robbed him of his health after eight years working at the company with a carcinogen doctors say caused his disease. A panel of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board denied compensation to Murphy despite evidence from a WSIB-appointed expert that exposure to benzene caused his illness. . . . Because Murphy filed a claim with the WSIB, by law he forfeited his rights to sue Magna directly. . . . "I'm on CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and I'll never be able to work again. I have people suing me because I can't pay my bills," Murphy said. "

NEW - Video Updates on Jeff Thompson Story - August 18 2008 - Part 7, 8 and 9 of the Darrell Powell Video Series

Growing concern about accuracy of WCB injury and death statistics - "WorkSafeBC 2007 statistics indicate there were fewer claims for injury accidents and survival benefits per 1,000 employees than ever recorded in the history of the construction industry. . . . The declining figures — which have dropped since 2004 even as the industry has drawn in thousands of new workers — may be an indication of a flourishing “underground” economy, under-reporting and unreported incidents, Peppard said."

(USA) Workplace Stress Ruled Compensable - "Stress Victim's Family Collects Workers' Compensation For Her Death - The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that stress can be an occupational disease which will support a workers’ compensation claim. The case resulted from the death of a secretary who worked at a high-stress job at Duke University Medical Center. . . The North Carolina Industrial Commission awarded the heirs of the deceased secretary full workers’ compensation benefits because of its holding that the death was caused by her work-related occupational disease. . . This is one of the few cases in which workers’ compensation benefits have been awarded to a non-law-enforcement-officer based upon a stress-related disease."

(USA) Supreme Court rules suicide compensable - "Under a precedent-setting Nevada Supreme Court opinion last week, survivors of workers who commit suicide as a result of an industrial injury won't automatically be rejected for death benefits as they were in the past." . . . "While Nevada state law prohibits benefits if a worker’s death occurs due to a "willful intention to injure himself," this does not apply if a "sufficient chain of causation is established."

Still fighting after 20 years - "According to Valic, the WSCC is not recognizing the financial costs that he has incurred. . . he wants to take his appeal to a federal court. "

CUPE challenges WHSCC statistics - "Claims are down not because of safer workplaces, but because people are not reporting injuries and are being denied benefits," said Rick MacMillan, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE New Brunswick. . . . CUPE New Brunswick has told the WHSCC Independent Review Panel that it's time to change the WHSCC and workers compensation system to help the workers, after years of an imbalance towards employers. Benefits, claims and prevention are the areas that need the most attention."

(USA) Workers' compensation enforcers widen focus on employers - SACRAMENTO -- "For a decade, California employers and their advocates in Sacramento complained about the high cost of workers' compensation insurance and condemned abuses of the system by employees, who they said fake claims, exaggerate medical conditions and collect fat disability benefits. But some data suggest that employers -- not workers -- are the bigger workers' compensation cheaters. And the state is stepping up enforcement against businesses suspected of ignoring the law and endangering workers."

Alberta workers being financially ruined - " 'How can the WCB have a ‘surplus’ when injured workers are being financially ruined because they are not receiving fair compensation for their injuries?' - Randy Corbett, AUPE Union Rep, WCB (from the Summer 2008 AUPE newsletter)

Minister AWOL on WSIB affair - " Labour Minister Brad Duguid has gone missing in action since the Sun revealed Workplace Safety and Insurance Board president Jill Hutcheon was paid by both the board and the labour ministry for years, Progressive Conservative MPPs said yesterday. . . 'the McGuinty government has apparently spent more time trying to obscure the salary of the WSIB president than trying to assist injured workers' . . . the WSIB was able to disclose Hutcheon's salary under the province's Sunshine Laws as being much less. Between Hutcheon joining the board and her retirement from the public service in 2006, she was paid $844,000 by the board and $746,000 from Labour. The arrangement "appears to be an attempt to obscure her total compensation," the MPPs wrote."

WSIB President's Pay Raises Eyebrows - "Pay Raises Eyebrows - Tory critic sees 'accounting mischief' . . ."It certainly has the appearance of some kind of accounting mischief," Progressive Conservative finance critic Tim Hudak said yesterday. "I worry that the taxpayers and the premium payers of Ontario are going to be left footing the bill for this very high salary." Under provincial salary disclosure laws -- the so-called Sunshine List -- the WSIB has reported Hutcheon earned $844,000 in salary and benefits between 2003 and 2006. But because the labour ministry says she joined the board on secondment from her old job, it continued to pay her a deputy minister's salary for those same years, earning her an additional $744,000. . . . "Small businesses and manufacturers in (Premier) Dalton McGuinty's Ontario are really getting squeezed and they're going to hit the roof when they see their (insurance) premiums being used for this.""

WSIB president salary 'shady' - "The people who ultimately pay Workplace Safety and Insurance Board president Jill Hutcheon will be outraged when they learn her salary was split in two on the provincial Sunshine List, allowing the board to report it paid her nearly $750,000 less than it actually did, critics charged yesterday. . . . 'this does appear as if the WSIB was hiding her salary by dividing it between two pots' . . . Senior executives at the WSIB are paid out of insurance premiums paid by employers, while tax money funds the Labour Ministry. . . Both WSIB chairman Steve Mahoney and Labour Minister Brad Duguid did not respond to requests for interviews yesterday. "

WSIB President's salary under scrutiny by Conflict of Interest Commissioner - "Double Trouble - There are fears a civil servant being paid by both the Ministry of Labour and the Workplace Safety Insurance Board could undermine Ontario's Sunshine Law - It's a shell game the province's conflict of interest commissioner says is misleading and should be reviewed. The ministry of labour pretended to pay Workplace Safety Insurance Board president Jill Hutcheon for almost four years after she left her job as deputy minister. The ministry continued to list her six-figure salary as coming from government books despite her wages being reimbursed by the WSIB, an arm's-length Crown agency. . . The arrangement allowed the WSIB to skirt the provincial Sunshine List by disclosing Hutcheon's salary as being hundreds of thousands of dollars less than it actually was. The Sunshine List includes anyone who makes more than $100,0000 while working for the government, Crown agencies or public institutions. It's meant to give taxpayers information on where their money goes and to whom. For example, in 2005, the WSIB reported Hutcheon's salary on the Sunshine List as being $257,623.17. It was in fact much higher, as the labour ministry paid her $200,354.28 in that same year. In the four years between 2003 and 2007, Hutcheon was paid $844,000 by the WSIB. At the same time, the labour ministry paid her an additional $746,000, with both the board and the ministry issuing T4 tax receipts and listing her on the Sunshine List twice in years her two salaries both broke the $100,000 mark. She declined to be interviewed."


JULY 2008:

WHSCC review disappointing - "The New Brunswick Federation of Labour has written a letter to Premier Shawn Graham expressing its disappointment with the WHSCC independent review report . . . We are appalled that New Brunswick will still be one of only three jurisdictions in Canada where injured workers will still face a waiting period for worker's compensation benefits and are extremely disappointed that the review panel did nothing to put an end to this gross injustice. . . . also . . . recommendation 54 in the report . . . is nothing short of undemocratic."

NEW- Darrell Powell Video Series - Video coverage of Darrell Powell's April 28th "Day of Mourning" radio show on CFRO.

(USA) Deadly Denial - Three Day Series by Rocky Mountain News - "Ten thousand Navajo men mined uranium for America's atomic bombs. The U.S. government knew early on that uranium could cause lung damage. But instead of warning the Navajo miners, the government decided to study what happened to them.Now those who survived — and the families of those who didn't — are having trouble proving that they qualify for compensation."

Registry for asbestos miners not enough: provincial NDP - "NDP leader Lorraine Michael said in a news release that while she's happy to see the registry announcement, government still has to go further to ensure proper compensation for, and identification of, health issues related to the work. . . . As well, changes have to be made to a compensation policy which eliminates compensation for cancers other than lung or mesothelioma, so that those cancers can be covered."

Baie Verte Miners' Registry "major breakthrough" - "Steelworkers applaud Newfoundland breakthrough agreement for victims of occupational disease: Now the search for former Baie Verte miners across Canada - A registry that will help identify former mine workers of the now defunct Baie Verte Asbestos Mine, who may have developed asbestos-related diseases, is a major breakthrough for workers' health, says the United Steelworkers union (USW). . . ."We hope this announcement will set the pattern for other compensation boards and governments across Canada as we continue to strive for justice for workers and their survivors." . . . "Steelworkers will continue to work with the WHSCC to see the results of the registry turned into fair compensation for the Baie Verte miners and their families."

Scathing Critique of WSIB Labour Market Reentry (LMR) - "Labour Market Reentry - The Ultimate Captive Student - When workers are hurt on the job, it may only be the start of their problems. Just wait until the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board sends them back to school. . . . When a worker is injured and can’t return to pre-accident employment that worker’s benefits depend on cooperation with the LMR process. So in order to avoid losing all income and ending up on welfare (a real danger – I’m not exaggerating) the worker may literally be forced back into school. . . I also see gross over-promising at work in the LMR system. . . the students . . ." (are victims of) ". . . inflated systemic assumptions. . . . As soon as a student finishes the LMR process, that student is very likely to be “deemed” at the average income for the job just trained for. No consideration for the difficulty of finding that job, no allowance for the fact that older adults (injured ones, no less) have a harder time securing employment, no allowance for sincere efforts resulting in under-employment. If you’ve been trained to be a refrigerator repairman then as soon as you’re done your course you’d better find work, because you’ll be assumed to earn that average salary anyway. And the “averages” used here look anything but average to me. . . . And by the way, please be careful at work. It’s nice we have a system of workplace insurance, and I trust it’s better than nothing, but I wouldn’t wish dealing with it on my worst enemy."

(USA) Depraved Indifference: The Workers' Compensation System - new book by Patrice Woeppel, Ed.D. - "What has happened to our nation that has allowed corporations and insurers to throw away the lives, the health of so many without caring, without fear of exposure, without being held accountable? It's called Workers' Compensation: the system we thought was there to protect us if we were injured on the job."

WSIB "is broken and in dire need of repair" - "The system of workers compensation in Ontario is broken and in dire need of repair. . . ." ". . . . The WSIB reward system, experience rating and rebates, must come to an end. . . . Employers should already have safety in workplaces."

WHSCC operates behind "inaccessible barrier of red tape" - ". . . WHSCC is the only department or agency in the province of New Brunswick that does not have a listing of employees, or e-mail accessibility. . . . Now, due to the complete lack of accessible alternative communication, my compensation has been terminated. Yet my disability remains. . . . I can't understand how a government agency can have such little regard for people, making unjustified decisions behind an inaccessible barrier of red tape that could mean the injured employee losing everything! . . . So here I sit, disabled due to a work-related injury, with a wife and four small children, with no means of employment or income."

No Comp for Impact Worker Injured on the Job - Cleaning company washes its hands of responsibility through elaborate subcontracting scheme - "The Service Employees International Union Local 2 (SEIU) says that the problems faced by employees at Impact are the product of an elaborate scheme set up by the company to subcontract work in an effort to avoid its obligations under the law. SEIU filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour on behalf of employees of Impact last month. The complaint alleges that many of the cleaning contractor's employees in Toronto are being paid less than the minimum wage and are working without WSIB, EI or CPP benefits." When WCBs reward companies for having low "lost time" claims, it encourages under-reporting of workplace injuries. See "WCBs Report False Workplace Injury Statistics" and other stories on the WSIB's controversial "Experience Rating" system in the 2008 news.

(USA) Video EXPOSÉ on False Workplace Injury Statistics - Bill Moyers' 'THE JOURNAL - "Are regulators rewarding companies for inaccurate reporting of injuries? . . . official statistics showing a drop in workplace injuries may have been the result of deceptive reporting." The CIWS has pointed out how the same thing is happening in Canada. See "WCBs Report False Workplace Injury Statistics" and stories on the controversial "Experience Rating" system below in the 2008 news.


(USA) More States Follow NY and Abandon AMA Guides - "Following New York's rejection of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment for its own workers compensation system, . . . now the states of Utah, Washington and Colorado are not adopting the current version of the AMA Guides. . . . This comes on the heels of workers' compensation expert Dr. John Burton recently labeling the AMA Guides as "hokum" and "not evidence based". Clearly, the tide across the country is shifting away from the AMA Guides as they are exposed for what they really are - an insurance industry tool to lower workers' compensation benefits to injured workers." The CIWS has pointed out how, in Canada, these AMA guides are still being used illegally by WCBs to determine impairment ratings. See Unlawful Use Of Impairment Ratings And AMA Guides Longtime WCB critic, Gerry Millar states, "The Alberta Guides are worse as they were compiled by a Dr. Bell in 1960 and no one knows how or why Dr. Bell came up with the impairment ratings which do not even bother to factor in pain in any of their impairment ratings as the feeling is that pain is subjective, therefore pain is not factored in."

JUNE 2008:

". . . WSIB and labour ministry allow companies to hide dangerous workplaces . . ." - Hiding injuries rewards companies - Star investigation reveals job safety numbers are under-reported, cutting employer costs. - "The provincial government's highly touted campaign to improve workplace safety is rewarding companies for hiding injuries and rushing the wounded back to work. . . . The provincial agency's plan says that the faster a company gets an injured worker back to work, or off what is known as "loss time," the lower the insurance premium. Shortening this loss time or avoiding reporting it altogether can be lucrative, possibly leading to a rebate cheque from the WSIB. . . . The Star found that at least 11,000 worker injuries were downplayed or improperly handled over a seven-year period, . . . The Star found the WSIB's policy around "early and safe return to work" is loosely defined - companies often get to decide which jobs are suitable. . . Steering companies down the WSIB's profitable "Road to Zero" injuries is a cottage industry of consultants who teach how to work the system. . . . The Star shared its findings with three Ministry of Labour inspectors, including one high-ranking inspector, and others with knowledge of workplace safety issues in Ontario, and none was surprised. The inspectors, who requested anonymity for fear of losing their jobs, say the WSIB and labour ministry allow companies to hide dangerous workplaces and cut costs at the expense of injured workers."

"Dismal Enforcement" by Worksafe B.C. - Farm workers relegated to second-class status: CCPA study - "At the mercy of a complex and confusing system that exploits, threatens and silences them while putting their lives in danger. . . . A new study of farm work in British Columbia reveals systematic violations of employment standards and health and safety regulations, poor and often dangerous working conditions and dismal enforcement by B.C. government agencies. . . . Since 2001, inspection reports by Worksafe B.C. in the agricultural sector plummeted by 62% and prevention orders dropped by 73%. Not a single participant recalled any visit to a work site by Worksafe B.C."

Liberals Unable to Ignore Injured Worker "killed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board" - Paul Miller, Ontario NDP MPP, tried to pin Minister of Labour, Brad Duguid down to a firm commitment for a meeting about an injured worker's death. On February 10, Jeff Thompson died of "a bleeding ulcer due to severe stress. But according to those who knew him, Mr. Thompson was killed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board." (see "WSIB Blamed for Man's Death - Stress of fight to prove injury claim blamed for man's death"). Thompson's sister, Colleen Mathers, attended the legislative assembly June 17th along with Darrell Powell (official witness to the Senate Subcommittee on Population Health representing disabled workers) and Peter Clare (critic of the WSIB who asked for a meeting of the minister with the WSIB chair, Steve Mahoney). Labour Minister Brad Duguid sidestepped the issue.

WCB defies order to release list of least-safe workplaces - "The Nova Scotia board responsible for on-the-job safety has refused to release a list of workplaces with the highest number of employee injuries in the province. . . .In doing so, the Workers’ Compensation Board defied a decision of the province’s top freedom of information watchdog. . . . The Chronicle Herald will respond by taking the board to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in an attempt to force Workers’ Compensation to comply with the ruling. . . . "Our position is this is a matter of great public interest and we have a responsibility to get this information and deal with it as clearly as possible," said Dan Leger, this newspaper’s director of news content."

Halifax Newspaper Taking Workers Compensation Board to Supreme Court - Nova Scotia WCB Disobeys Freedom of Information Officer - Refuses to Release Safety Information - "The Chronicle-Herald is taking the Workers' Compensation Board to court over its refusal to release information about safe workplaces. . . . Managing Editor Dan Leger says this is a matter of "great public interest" and the paper will do what is necessary to make the information available to the public."

ACOEM Guidelines "Highly Controversial" for WCB Pain Claimants - “Acceptance of ACOEM Guidelines will have a devastating and far reaching impact on Workers compensation claimants . . . Workers May Be Denied High Quality, Cost-Effective Pain Care . . . "I was deeply disturbed by the draft I reviewed of the new ACOEM guidelines” said . . . President of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. . . . If these guidelines are utilized by their target audience, workers compensation insurance carriers, the injured workers in this nation will be denied some of the most effective pain treatments currently available. . . . ACOEM’s process of guideline development is not consistent with accepted practices for evidence-based guidelines and these guidelines are highly controversial among physicians and workers. Implementation of these guidelines for interventional pain management may not be applicable for patient care due to numerous deficiencies."" (The CIWS has listed the ACOEM (American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) under "Possible Sources of Biased Research and Information" on our page outlining our concerns about Questionable Research and Medicine. The CIWS is concerned about false medical reports being performed and questionable research being done by medical practitioners and academics who are being paid by insurance companies and/or workers compensation boards.

(USA) Legal Battle with Wal-Mart Over Injury Benefits Broke Elderly Store Greeter’s Spirit - "On the face of it, you might think that an employer of any size, much less a mega-corporation that registers a profit of about $20,000 a minute, at least would have been willing to pay for the cost of Teague's emergency room services, where the bill for stitching him up came to about $3,500. . . .But Wal-Mart — whose famous slogan is "Save money, live better" — declined to give Teague even one cent in workers' compensation benefits for the injuries he suffered on the job. . . . Kilfoy (Teague's lawyer) and others who knew Teague well say the protracted battle with the mighty Wal-Mart after his spill broke Teague's spirit. By the time he died, Teague had incurred about $200,000 in medical bills unrelated to his Wal-Mart head injury that Medicare wouldn't pay while awaiting the outcome of the workers' comp case." (The same things are happening in Canada as provincial WCBs increasingly use a US-style insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims sending thousands of families into poverty and despair annually.)

(AU) WCB Stats Grossly Underestimate Mental Injuries - 21,000 Victorians suffer from work-related depression - "Almost one in six cases of depression among working Victorians are caused by job stress, amounting to more than 21,000 cases of preventable depression in Victoria each year, a new University of Melbourne study shows. . . . This translates to 21,437 working Victorians suffering from preventable depression caused by job stress; By comparison, 30-times fewer workers receive workers’ compensation for stress-related mental disorders, suggesting that workers’ compensation statistics grossly under-represent the true extent of the problem."

Speakers School adds authority to injured worker's message - 91.5 FM News - Several of Thunder Bay's injured workers are better equipped to fight for their rights thanks to an innovative new program that gives them and their plight, a clearer voice. Nine people recently graduated from Speakers School, a 12-week course that preps them on problems facing injured workers and teaches how to effectively present their issues to the public. Graduate Robert Laroque says the course was an eye-opening experience and said " it enlightened" him.Graduates of the program will participate in an ongoing group for public speakers representing injured workers.

MAY 2008:

Senate Subcommittee on Population Health --Have Your Say (Friday, 16 May 2008) - The Senate Subcommittee on Population Health, led by the Hon. Wilbert J. Keon and the Hon. Lucie Pépin, would like your opinion on the federal government's role in the development and implementation of population health policy for Canada. Your comments will be taken into consideration in the Subcommittee's next report, which will contain recommendations on how the federal government can implement pan-Canadian initiatives to reduce health disparities. The Subcommittee has issued four reports on the multiple factors and conditions that contribute to the health of Canada's population. These reports are available at http://www.parl.gc.ca/39/2/parlbus/commbus/senate/popu.htm under "Reports." Contact - Please share your views on this important issue before June 30, 2008 by sending your comments to Barbara Reynolds, Clerk of the Senate Subcommittee on Population Health at [email protected] or by mail at Committees Directorate, Senate of Canada, 40 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A4.

(AU) Study Reveals Substantial Under-compensation of Psychological Injuries - "Job strain and associated depression risks represent a substantial, preventable, and inequitably distributed public health problem. . . job strain is an important contributor to mental health inequalities . . . there is substantial under-recognition and under-compensation of job strain-attributable depression"

IWAAC ("Injured Workers All Across Canada") requests input from injured workers into their new POLL.

World Congress on Pain Submission Blasts Workers Compensation Board - " Campbell-Taylor takes issue with the definition of chronic pain used by the Nova Scotia Worker’s Compensation Board, saying it’s not used anywhere else in the world . . . “The bit that they have added themselves is the part that is used most often to deny claims for chronic pain,” she said. “When you find that more than 70 per cent of claims are denied, well, that’s statistically impossible. . . . They started about a year ago by randomly selecting 1,500 compensation appeals tribunal decisions . . . they . . . found medical data was often misinterpreted. . . . There seems to be universal assumption that those complaining of chronic pain are cheating, Campbell-Taylor said, although literature shows that is a small number.""

WSIB Boss, Steve Mahoney, "Grilled Over Free Steaks" at Swanky Bar - "Critics say lobbying event 'inappropriate' use of public funds" . . . "They went to the swankiest bar in all of Ottawa, the Martini Ranch at Hy's Steakhouse, so Mr. Mahoney could show off what a big man on campus he was to his former Liberal friends," Mr. Hudak said. "It was an inappropriate use of funds that were supposed to be for injured workers."

WSIB Blamed for Man's Death - Stress of fight to prove injury claim blamed for man's death - "As the pain in Mr. Thompson's knee persisted, and he was unable to stand, sit or sleep comfortably, his WSIB adjudicator threatened to stop his benefits. . . . The adjudicator threatened to end his benefits when Mr. Thompson didn't comply with the "labour market re-entry plan," which required him to attend classes in London, 120 kilometres from his home. Mr. Thompson was taking morphine daily, and found that driving aggravated his pain. . . . The burden of defending the severity of his injuries and the financial strain of living off his shrinking benefits seemed to age her brother overnight, she said. . . . The day after Mr. Thompson died, a letter from the WSIB arrived at his home. It was notification that his benefits had been cut by 50 per cent."

(AU) Green Party Filibuster - Heroic Defence of the Rights of Injured Workers - "Greens MP Mark Parnell's oratory marathon - aimed at delaying a Bill he opposes - may well be the longest filibuster in a state parliament. . . . Debating changes to the WorkCover workers' compensation scheme, Mr Parnell got to his feet in the SA Legislative Council yesterday morning and, except for breaks for lunch and dinner, held the floor until late last night. He was followed by independent MP Ann Bressington, who spoke for five hours, before debate on the Bill was adjourned at 4am (4.30am AEST) today. The pair had teamed up to stall a vote on the WorkCover changes, which would cut payments to some injured workers, and to get union and worker concerns on the public record. . . Unions today hailed Mr Parnell's efforts as heroic and a staunch defence of the rights of injured workers. "

Cancer Victim Gets Runaround From WorkSafe BC - "Frustrated at getting “the runaround” on his medical condition from the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia, Ronald Barrow, an Algoma Steel Inc. retiree, boarded an aircraft for Sault Ste. Marie earlier this week. “My daughter told me that the union was organizing a clinic for anyone who suspected they were exposed to toxic chemicals or substances while working at the plant and I saw it as an opportunity to finally get some answers,” said Barrow, an ASI maintenance millwright for 37 years who now resides in Westbank, B.C., near Kelowna. . . . The Workers’ Compensation Board denied his claim about a year ago, he alleges because of the mere reference to his being a smoker. “It didn’t matter that I had quit smoking 22 years ago, that I was never a heavy smoker, but the simple fact I had smoked was the reason for my health problems,” he said. . . . He worked mainly in No. 1 steelmaking. “Pollutants were everywhere, asbestos was everywhere,” and standard-issue protection was hardhats, safety glasses, earplugs and gloves, later coats and pants for protection from molten steel splashes. "

NDP wants WSIB program scrapped - "The McGuinty government is being asked to scrap a controversial workplace insurance program that gave financial rewards to companies guilty of fatal safety violations. The New Democratic Party has put forward a motion, scheduled to be debated at Queen's Park next week, that also calls for an audit of the so-called "experience rating" program that critics claim entices companies to hide injuries and rush injured workers back on the job. . . NDP Leader Howard Hampton says he wants to know how much money went to undeserving companies, adding that he has no faith the McGuinty government will attempt to make any serious changes as part of the review already underway." See more stories on the controversial "Experience Rating" system below in the April news..

Regina doctor says thousands not treated properly by Saskatchewan WCB - "A Regina doctor says thousands of injured workers haven't been treated properly by the Saskatchewan Worker's Compensation Board. . . . He said 20,000 to 30,000 workers with back injuries have not received the treatment they deserve over the past years. "

SUICIDE - John could take no more WCB abuse or intimidation - ". . . he resorted to taking his own life, all because he could no longer take the cruel treatment of the Workers Compensation Board. His widow told me the abusive WCB process was worst than the pain from his injuries, she said it was constant intimidation . . . "

(USA) New York State Rejects AMA Guides - ". . . the AMA Guides were rejected by the New York State Insurance Department as a basis for determining impairment and/or disability in claims before the New York Workers' Compensation Board. . . . Hopefully, this will start a trend in other states to banish these hurtful Guides that have been labeled "hokum" and "not evidence based" by renowned workers' compensation expert, Dr. John Burton." The CIWS has pointed out how, in Canada, these AMA guides are still being used illegally by WCBs to determine impairment ratings. See Unlawful Use Of Impairment Ratings And AMA Guides Longtime WCB critic, Gerry Millar states, "The Alberta Guides are worse as they were compiled by a Dr. Bell in 1960 and no one knows how or why Dr. Bell came up with the impairment ratings which do not even bother to factor in pain in any of their impairment ratings as the feeling is that pain is subjective, therefore pain is not factored in."

(USA) WCB Claims Illegally Rejected - ". . . the consultants’ review found 14 of 84 denied claims were inappropriately rejected." The CIWS has pointed out how, in Canada, the same things are happening - the culture of denial, the misuse of so-called "independent" medical examiners, the adversarial bureaucracy, the inappropriate rehabilitation or training programs and the downloading onto other social programs. See "What's Wrong With Workers Compensation?"

Don't put smokescreen over occupational cancer, OFL urges - "It has been hard not to notice the strong focus cancer organizations have put on smoking in recent decades, said Irene Harris. "This is good, but why aren't we applying that to the other 50 carcinogens that we know are in workplaces?""

Canada is unsafe because government not enforcing laws - "The numbers are mind-boggling . . . (Canada is) killing and injuring . . . more per capita than almost every industrialized country in the world.. . . companies are saving millions through a . . . (WSIB) rebate program. . . . the courts in the case of a killed worker fined one company . . . $150,000. The rebate, or reward, from WSIB was $318,000. Another company was fined $100,000 and was rewarded $329,000. Isn’t this sad? In reality, it is not at all hard to explain. Governments and employers can talk the talk, but they refuse to walk the walk. They love to talk about great laws and regulations on the books or great internal policies they have in the workplaces. But what some are not saying is they are not committed to enforcing any of the written word. It’s just words. "

APRIL 2008:

Needless Deaths and Frustration with the WSIB - Needless deaths and injuries continue to take place on job - "Wayne Samuelson, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, spoke of his frustration with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's flawed "experience rating system," which has resulted in millions of dollars in rebates going to companies, even after they were fined for safety violations that led to death or serious injuries. Samuelson said he's been telling the board about the problems for years."

NEW AUDIO - April 28 2008 - INTERNATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING - AFFIRMATIVE ACTION SPECIAL - Darrell Powell with Charles Boylan on CFRO COOP Radio

NATIONAL DAY OF WCB HYPOCRISY - "Has the media ever spent time talking to the families of those fallen workers? Has anyone in our governments across Canada provincial or federal, taken any time to see if those families were treated with respect from the authorities in charge? . . . Since when have the deceased been able to get out of their graves and tell the truth about how their families were treated by the WCB? . . . If you cannot trust your Governments to protect you from its own creation, (the vultures at WCB), then just who can you trust? Maybe those who cozy up to the WCB pretending they care about our fallen brothers and sisters?"

ONTARIO WSIB HYPOCRISY - The Ontario WSIB is holding a public ceremony to observe the National Day of Mourning on April 28, 2008 at 10:10 a.m. at Queen's Park (in front of the Legislative Building) Toronto, ON. Yet "The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and other groups are demanding that Steve Mahoney be fired as chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) over revelations that the province has paid safety rebates to companies prosecuted for the death of workers on the job." (see articles regarding "experience rating" further down this list) - Gerry Miller, longtime WCB critic says, "Strange how they can set aside a day to honor the millions of Ontarians whose lives have been forever changed by a workplace injury, illness or fatality and then not acknowledge the millions of Ontarians who have had their claims and benefits denied, forced into poverty, suicides, marital breakdowns. Set aside one day to honor workers and then back to business as usual for the rest of the 364 days. Talk about hypocrisy. I wouldn't attend this hypocritical show if Mr. Hargroves was giving away free cars."

WCB Downloading Costs Onto Taxpayers - A"WCB is not only a Provincial disaster, it is a national disaster that must be addressed by the Ministers in charge of Provincial Health Care Services, Provincial Income Support Programs and the Provincial WCB systems to ensure that taxpayers are not paying for services that are the sole responsibility of WCB. . . . This is done all over Canada with Alberta no worse than any other Provincial WCB system. "

Lost Time Claim Rate Artificially Contrived - Alberta workplaces claimed 154 lives in 2007, up 24 per cent - "Kevin Flaherty, executive director of the Alberta Worker’s Health Centre, a not-for-profit society that focusses on workplace health and safety, says that means that Alberta workplaces just aren’t getting safer. . . . too much emphasis is put on the lost-time claim rate. . . . We’re only counting the people as defined by Workers Comp, so it’s underestimated. Just workplace-related cancers alone would push fatalities over 500 a year in Alberta. So there needs to be a much better, more serious look at all those statistics. . . . The basic reason is that the lost time claim rate is artificially contrived.”"

RADIO SHOW - INTERNATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING - AFFIRMATIVE ACTION SPECIAL- DARRELL POWELL WITH CHARLES BOYLAN
on "Wake - up With Co-op" April 28th, 2008 on CFRO 102.7 FM Vancouver and Ch 845 on Star Choice. * * * AUDIO WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON * * *

WHSCC No Longer Able to Hide Causes of Workplace Deaths - N.B to make workplace fatality inquests mandatory - Minister says amendments to coroner's act designed to improve worker safety. . . . "Public Safety Minister John Foran introduced legislation yesterday that will make a public inquest mandatory when someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly in certain workplaces. . . . "We want to make sure for the workers of this province and the people of this province that all the facts come out on deaths.""

Open Letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty (re: WSIB Experience Rating program) - Letter: McGuinty: dig deeper - "Unfortunately, you are only looking at the tip of the iceberg. While the WSIB has been giving big businesses hundreds of millions of dollars each year in rebates, injured workers are falling into poverty. . . scrap the present experience rating program and restore the WSIB to a system that really helps workers with serious long-term injuries." - by Steve Mantis

SICKO! (USA) Doctors feel push to downplay injuries - Group tells OSHA of pressure by companies - "A leading group of occupational doctors is taking the unusual step of speaking out publicly against pressure from companies to downplay workplace injuries. . . . They're also planning to testify before Congress. . . . "Our members feel they are being methodically pressured ... to under-treat and mistreat," "...This is a grave ethical concern for our members. It's a grave medical concern." . . . Workplace injury and illness rates . . . have been declining nationwide in recent years. But some experts suspect that's partly because . . . employers are "vastly underreporting" the extent of workplace injuries. . . . Doctors become popular with companies if they rarely order time off work for injured employees, or if they seldom recommend costly treatments or conclude injuries are work-related . . ."(The CIWS is concerned about biased medical reports by WCB funded medical practitioners. We feel that most medical professionals are ethical and would never become involved in this type of manipulation of medical evidence. However, injured workers are reporting that this type of unethical, and possibly criminal, activity is occuring in relation to their WCB claims.)

(USA) Senate panel to examine state's worker comp system - Hearing to review reports of years-long waits by thousands of employees - ". . . Sarlo said he is convening the May 5 hearing in response to a series of articles in The Star-Ledger that showed how bureaucratic delays, politics and poor state oversight have left thousands of injured workers waiting years for the relief promised by the compensation system."(The CIWS is disappointed that, in Canada, despite many articles and series in major newspapers nationwide, legislators still turn a blind eye toward the abuses being perpetrated by workers compensation boards against disabled workers.)

Does WSIB Release Disabled Workers' Info to "Dimitri the Lover"? - The SECOND OPINION Medical-Legal Consultants Group Inc. states on their website that they do, "Forensic background medical investigations for WSIB/STD/LTD abuse." They state that "The Medical Investigator would also contact the WSIB and other insurers to confirm that the job applicant has never submitted any significant claims to them." Yet the owner of Second Opinion was "stripped of his license to practice more than a decade ago after being criminally convicted of sexually assaulting female patients." and now, according to the Toronto Sun, "James "Dimitri the Lover" Sears has hung out a new shingle: Sex guru. "Dimitri the Lover" insists he can teach men who attend his Toronto Real Men meetings and workshops how to make women "worship" them. "

Only in a sick system such as WCB would a human life be worth $8000.00 - License to injure or kill - Commenting on Toronto Star article, "WORKING WOUNDED - When companies get rewarded for mistakes", longtime WCB critic for Alberta states, ". . . people who have been fighting the system for decades know exactly what the system is all about. Injured and disabled workers have to fight to have their claims accepted and even if they are accepted they then have to fight years for benefits while WSIB and other WCB systems provide rebates on an annual basis as a reward for injuring and killing workers. . . . In Alberta the death benefit for a single worker with no dependents is $8000.00 . . . Only in a sick system such as WCB would a human life be worth $8000.00 "

Miller demands immediate WSIB overhaul - "NDP MPP Paul Miller today demanded that the McGuinty government take immediate action – including the immediate removal of the chair and board – to fix the glaring problems at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). . . . “This is appalling and shameful. Workers are maimed and killed, yet irresponsible employers are rewarded,” said Miller . . . “The Chair and Board Members knew that this system was flawed, they heard about it from many labour representatives and yet they ignored calls to fix the problem. They should no longer be in a position to oversee the health and safety of Ontario’s workers.”"

Injured Workers' Rep Calls for Federal Inquiry into WCB - Calling on the Canadian Parliament and Senate - "I and many other injured workers request that all Workers Compensation Boards be investigated inlight of the finding by the Toronto Star Staff Reporters Moira Welsh David Bruser on April 5, 9 relating to the WSIB scandal over rebates to companies found guilty of unsafe workplaces. We would also like an audit done on injured workers files who have been denied benifits, it is my understand that even though claims were not being hououred by the Nova Scotia WCB, money was being paid out to unknown persons." MORE

Ottawa Complicit in the WCB Experience Rating Rebate Program - Calling on the Canadian Parliament and Senate - "The Federal Governments Website Entreprises Canada, is a propnent of the Experience Rating Rebate programs run by the WCB Boards in Canada. It is without question, that the Canadian Government are a complicit stakeholder with all Workers Compensation Boards and tacitly endorse the actions of all their partner WCB Boards, therefore the Federal Government is breaching it's own Charter of Rights and its own Human Rights Laws. The Federal site ... ( HERE ) Injured workers across Canada would like the Federal Government, through the Federal Minister of Labour to call for a committee to be struck, to investigate the many acts of Bad Faith demonistrated by their partners, the Workers Compensation Boards within Canada." MORE

SICKO! Alberta WCB Appeals Commission 'Goofs Off' on Charter Responsibilities - "In the Martin decision the Supreme Court determined that Appeals Tribunals have jurisdiction in determining questions of law relative to the Charter. It now appears that the Alberta Appeals Commission will not hear questions of law relative to the Charter. . . . If the Appeals Commission have forfeited their rights to hear questions of law relative to the Charter, are they doing so because they do not feel they are competent or knowledgeable enough to hear questions of law relative to the Charter. . . . Does any one have any idea why the Alberta Appeals Commission would be forfeiting their jurisdictional rights given to them by the Supreme Court relative to questions of law involving the Charter. Is there any other Canadian WCB Boards that have forfeited their rights to hear questions of law relative to the Charter and if so what is the reason or is this one of these things that no one really knows."(The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using an insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims. Reneging on their constitutional responsibilities as quasi-judicial boards, WCBs are further eroding the intent of the original workers compensation legislation - *** see CONSTITUTION AND CHARTER VIOLATIONS)

Senate Focuses on Socio-economic Health Problems - In this Fourth Report, (Population Health Policy: Issues and Options) the Senate Committee has focused on socio-economic staus as the major social determinant of health and recommends a federal population health strategy along with health impact assessments of government agencies (such as WCBs). "Fifty per cent of a person's health is determined by their social and economic environment, while only 25 per cent can be directly attributed to the health-care system, according to the report, Population Health Policy: Issues and Options."(The CIWS has pointed out how the failure of WCB is a major influence on the socio-economic status of Canadians disabled due to occupation and their families.)

WSIB rebate embarrassing, premier says - "McGuinty says flawed program needs changing but won't call for chair of safety agency to resign. - Premier Dalton McGuinty said he will not heed calls to fire the embattled chair of the provincial workplace safety agency, but branded its flawed rebate program an "embarrassment" that needs to be fixed. McGuinty's comments came as labour groups held a news conference at Queen's Park yesterday morning, demanding he fire Steve Mahoney, chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, who has said he was unaware his rebate program was defective."

Labour leaders want WSIB chair fired over 'death' rebates - "Companies prosecuted for worker fatalities awarded safety rebates - The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and other groups are demanding that Steve Mahoney be fired as chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) over revelations that the province has paid safety rebates to companies prosecuted for the death of workers on the job."

Labour groups want WSIB chief out - "Star series spurs advocates to demand new board for safety agency, but chair calls plea disappointing. Ontario labour groups are asking Premier Dalton McGuinty to fire the chair and executive board of the provincial workplace safety agency in the wake of a Star series on its flawed safety rebate program."

WSIB's 'dangerously' mixed message - "When it comes to workplace safety, the Ontario government has been sending dangerously mixed messages. . . The WSIB admits a company sometimes qualifies for a rebate even if it has been held responsible for an on-the-job death. . . Until this loophole is closed, Ontario workers have every right to question the government's claims that it takes workplace safety seriously. "

Lawyer Recommends 'Fundamental Changes' to WSIB - "Ontario workers pay the price - Re: 'When companies get rewarded for mistakes' . . . Without fundamental changes to the system, it will remain possible to receive millions in "safety rebates" without a safety inspector ever setting foot in the workplace. The current system of financial incentives is a sick joke at the expense of workers maimed and killed through the negligence of employers. It is no substitute for genuine enforcement of the laws on workplace safety." (also see the CIWSPETITION calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into WCB wrongdoing.)

Legal Clinic Receives Thousands of Calls from Injured Workers - "WSIB must get to work - Re: 'When companies get rewarded for mistakes' . . . Imagine how much more could be done if the board wasn't taking billions of dollars out of the accident fund and giving it to employers. . . Our legal clinic has received thousands of calls from injured workers whose employers are fighting their WSIB claims, or insisting they return to work right after an injury to do a concocted, meaningless job so the employers can report them as a "no lost time" injury. . . All of this goes to show that workers' compensation claims statistics tell us very little about health and safety practices in the workplace." (also see "WCBs Report False Workplace Injury Statistics")

INJURED WORKER ASKS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR INQUIRY INTO WCB:
and, "Does the Nova Scotia Workers Compensation Board rebate business when an employee dies on the job from a work related an accident?"
http://waynecoady.blogspot.com/2008/04/does-nova-scotia-workers-compensation.html

Star series prompts a sweeping review of payouts to firms where workers died - Workplace safety rebates probed. "The Star's "Working Wounded" probe has revealed that one arm of the provincial government has been giving financial rewards to companies that have been prosecuted for worker deaths by another arm of the government. . . . A Star investigation has found that the workplace insurance agency has given tens of millions of dollars in rebates to companies that have been prosecuted by the provincial government and found guilty of safety violations leading to deaths, amputations and other gruesome injuries. . . . That analysis unearthed 75 instances since 2001 that dramatically illustrate the problem. . . . The offending companies were fined a total of $14 million by the province yet received payouts totalling $42 million from the WSIB. . . . Speaking about their own experience at the monolithic Front St. office, they (WSIB workers) said Mahoney's proposed changes will be a hard sell because companies have a long history of influencing board decisions." The workers "would not go on the record because they both work in the system and fear retribution." (Contrary to the stance taken by WorkSafe BC, in response to this article, the CIWS believes that WCBs should have NO jurisdiction over workplace safety OR penalties due to their potential conflict of interest in being funded solely by employers. It is too easy to deny claims to save money, then just ignore the hazard that caused the injury. The CIWS believes that the organization that metes out compensation should not be the same as the one in charge of workplace safety. WCBs have a dismal record of workplace injury prevention - just glossy PR and gory videos with little substantive effect. Occupational Health and Safety departments should take over ALL responsibility in these areas from WCBs and be given the full power of investigation, regulation and penalty administration.SEE HOW WCBs HAVE BEEN LOBBYING FOR MORE POWER)

WSIB Rewarded Workplace Deaths For Years - " . . .the Star found that the insurance agency (the WSIB) has given at least tens of millions of dollars in rebates to companies that have been prosecuted by the provincial government and found guilty of safety violations leading to deaths, amputations and other gruesome injuries. . . .While the WSIB has known about the practice for years – labour groups have repeatedly complained about it – it is now searching for solutions after the Star started investigating. . . . The Star found the WSIB issued payouts that were often double, sometimes quadruple the penalties levied after the province took companies to court, allowing businesses to recoup their financial losses." SEE 'WORKPLACE VICTIMS'

United Steelworkers Inviting Media to Press Conference - "Due to the high rates of cancer and disease . . . United Steelworkers Local 2251 is offering a free and confidential Occupational Disease Intake Clinic. Current and former ASI employees, retirees, family members and widows/widowers are urged to attend. . . . United Steelworkers Local 2251 is inviting the media to a press conference to discuss this important issue and provide information to the public."

Injured Workers Call On Business Organizations, like CFIB:
- "Injured workers in Nova Scotia and across Canada appeal to the membership of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and The Canadian Federation of Independent Small Business to return to injured workers their rights, that they have had taken away by "your" insurance provider, the Workers Compensation Boards in Canada. . . . This legislation places injured workers at a major disadvantage and has resulted in far too many suicides because of the frustration these WCB Boards impose upon us. The WCB system is a denial program, forcing many injured workers into poverty. In the weeks ahead, I will explore the cause behind suicide within the injured worker familiy and in time, the families affected will speakout. The pain and hurt must stop and stop now." FULL REPORT AND LARGER VIDEO


Disabled Worker's Victory Came Too Little Too Late - "If the painful hearing and sound disability didn't drive him off the deep end, years of WorkSafe's stubborn, willfully blind, callous insistence that he didn't have a permanent disability and wasn't entitled to wage loss and rehab sure did. . . . The arbiter, like many others, had completely ignored the medical reports that made it clear Finlayson was in no shape to return to his old job and likely never would be. But WorkSafe's officers weren't about to let the facts get in the way -- even when provided by some of the country's top neurootologists. . . . It wasn't until Finlayson's file ended up on a review division officer's desk that his fate began to change. . . . Robert Bal's 14-page decision last month cited major flaws in the previous work of the board disability claims adjudicator, case manager, disability awards officer and vocational rehab consultants."

Committee to study compensation for soldiers - "Casson, speaking from Ottawa, was responding to published comments by NDP MP Peter Stoffer, who criticized the military amputee and injury compensation as inadequate. . . Casson said the committee is about one-quarter into its study, after which recommendations will be made to government."


MARCH 2008:

(AU) Workers says new WorkCover Bill is disgusting - "More than 1000 construction workers are expected to protest, demanding the State Government abandon its plans to change the WorkCover system. The rally is part of a targeted campaign against the State Government's WorkCover Bill, which unions say is unfair to injured workers. The proposed amendments, which reduce employers' responsibilities for injured workers, have infuriated the unions."

Free Cancer Clinic for Algoma Steel (ASI) Employees - ". . . Sault Ste. Marie has four times the provincial cancer rate . . . United Steelworkers Local 2251 is offering a free and confidential Occupational Disease Intake Clinic. Current and former ASI employees, retirees, family members and widows/widowers are urged to attend."

SICKO! (USA) Insurer Fraud Is Not a Victimless Crime - "Insurers have found and/or developed ways to circumvent the law and have intentionally bastardized, convoluted and corrupted the very system designed to provide desperately needed benefits and medical care to the injured workers of California and across the United States." (The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using an insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims.)

WSIB Reduces Access for the Disabled - "Murdoch mad over WSIB policy . . . A new Workplace Safety and Insurance Board policy reduces accessibility to medical equipment and supplies."

Toronto Transit Financial Penalties on Injured Workers - "ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear said . . . we have to finally resolve the injustice of our members being financially penalized when they lose time because they have been criminally attacked or otherwise injured in the course of their duties. "

PEI Disability Advocate Quits Provincial Committee - "When they take away your ability to act, and then take away your right to speak, you have nothing," said Stephen Pate after leaving his post on the Disability Services Review Committee, which is supposed to reform the province's disability support program. "

New WSIB Construction Return-to-Work Regulation - "Ontario’s new Construction Return to Work (RTW) Regulation will come into effect on Sept. 1. The regulation will require that all contractors, regardless of size, be responsible for providing suitable re-employment to their injured workers. The period of re-employment will be up to two years after the date of the injury and for a one year duration after the worker is medically able to perform the essential duties of the pre-injury employment." (The CIWS is concerned about inappropriate and forced return to work of an injured employee. Workers Compensation Boards have focused on fast return to work rather than on an appropriate medical recovery model and we have received reports of re-injury due to inappropriate forced returns to work. This saves corporations and WCBs money, but downloads the social and medical costs onto taxpayers and the familiy of the injured worker.)

No Confidence in Alberta Appeals Advisor - ". . . these people work directly for WCB and are either afraid to make waves or they have been instructed to only go so far to make it look like they are helping when in fact they are not . . . over 70% of workers surveyed had no trust or confidence in the Office of the Appeals Advisor. "

(UK) Landmark ruling - Employer liable for injured worker’s suicide - "Companies will have to take action to look after the mental health of workers who suffer a physical accident at work, following a landmark ruling on employers’ liability in suicide cases."

First Report of the Subcommittee on Population Health of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology - "A major difficulty affecting the implementation of population health policy is that responsibility for health is divided among governments, in our case between the federal government, the provincial and territorial governments, and municipal governments, as well as a myriad of private stakeholders, all of whom carry different levels of responsibility for some of the many and varied determinants of health. This requires the establishment of effective interdepartmental, intergovernmental and intersectoral mechanisms that to date have eluded discovery in Canada. Political and societal commitment to tackling health disparities is essential. The broad public must perceive health disparities as a serious, even desperate problem and finding solutions to it must become imperative to politicians." (also see Darrell Powell's series on the WCB as a negative social determinant of health)

(USA) Workers' comp surplus to be studied by legislative panel - "An attempt by legislators to increase premium rebates to employers recently failed when worker advocates persuaded some lawmakers to look into whether injured workers were getting sufficient compensation. . . Employer and employee advocates are both seeking more analysis into the program and details of the surplus."

(USA) Court favors worker with aggravated pre-existing condition - "The Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 Wednesday that the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission unfairly denied disability benefits to a Home Depot worker who aggravated a pre-existing back condition at work."

CUPE Calls for Reinstatement of Occupational Health and Safety Commission - and calls for changes at WHSCC to help workers, "after years of an imbalance towards employers . . .Claims are down not because of safer workplaces, but because people are not reporting injuries and are being denied benefits," said Rick MacMillan, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE New Brunswick."

REVOKE REBATES OFL CALLS ON WSIB - "The announcement today that the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) has called for a review of the flawed 'Experience Rating Programs' is good news, but it doesn't change the fact that tens of millions of dollars have been drained out of the WSIB's accident fund each year by employers who have learned how to play the game of 'experience rating'," said Wayne Samuelson, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour. . . ."Experience rating reduces claims - not injuries," Samuelson said." (more info at - WCBs Report False Workplace Injury Statistics)

Risky workplaces face cash penalty - "Ontario's workplace safety agency has launched a review of the controversial payouts it makes to companies where workers have died on the job. . . . For years, many unsafe companies that caused deaths or injuries have received substantial payouts that were supposed to reward businesses with golden safety records. . . . WSIB payouts are often double or quadruple the fines levied against the companies by the Ministry of Labour, allowing dangerous businesses to recoup their financial losses by the very system that was created in 1915 to protect the rights of injured workers."

WSIB Announces Review of Experience Rating Program - After calls from labour, economics think tanks and disabled worker groups, Steven Mahoney, CEO of the Ontario WSIB announced that it is conducting a review of its Experience Rating program. However, Mahoney does not seem to be going as far as these groups want - a total elimination of the system. Mahoney states that "The Experience Rating program should raise the bar by rewarding excellent results in health and safety, prevention and return to work," yet critics state that "most researchers have been cautious about crediting experience-rating for lowering overall actual injury rates, because experience-rating provides incentives for injury under-reporting . . . and undesirable employer activities, such as the contracting out of hazardous activities and excessive claims management . . . " (more info at - WCBs Report False Workplace Injury Statistics)

HMCS Chicoutimi Submariners' Compensation Claims Rejected - "Three and a half years after a fatal submarine fire, surviving crew of HMCS Chicoutimi are falling ill with debilitating conditions – severe enough to force some of them out of the navy. . . .Many of the men and their families have battled bureaucrats over pension entitlements and had documented compensation claims rejected."

Systematic Genocide of Injured and Disabled Workers - Alberta - "Mr. Ed Stelmach . . . I have produced the hard evidence to support my accusations of systematic genocide of injured and disabled workers by denying legitimate claims, reducing or eliminating benefits, which you cannot deny."

(USA) California Workers’ Compensation System Fails Those Who Die in Its Grasp - "If these criminal acts were performed anywhere else but in Arnold’s Workers Compensation system, those responsible would be thrown in jail so fast that it would make your head spin! "

Concerns voiced about WCB system - "The WCB's denial of medical treatment and care has become one of the main negative social determinants of mental health in Canada . . . The mental/psychological damage caused by the WCB process itself, which has been cited as being adversarial from the beginning of a claim, is the main cause for the secondary wounding to the compensable injury, which has a far deeper, longer lasting effects than the original injury. . . In 2008, the Senate Subcommittee on Mental Health will be . . . showing evidence of the horrific practice and the further psychological/mental damage the WCB perpetrates on the injured workers of Canada."

Long Time WCB Critic Proposes Solution - "Everyone but the claimant derives some monetary benefit from the never ending culture of denial. . . . One of the proposals of Meredith was to have workers pay a proportion of their wages into the system along with the employer. . . There would be no need for an Appeals Commission, Decision Review Boards, Adjudicators, Case Managers, Medical Services, Legal Services, Appeals Advisory Boards, Directors of these Boards etc. The bureaucracy could be reduced by more than 80% with employers premiums being reduced significantly. "

FEBRUARY 2008:

Companies keep spotless ratings even if poorly trained temps are injured or killed - "Workplace safety rules allow companies to keep spotless ratings even if poorly trained temps are injured or killed . . . Ontario companies that use an army of temporary workers are hiding a dirty secret behind their glowing safety records."

WSIB is a nightmare - 3/4 of disabled workers in poverty - "Approximately three quarters of injured workers are chronically unemployed and living under the poverty line . . . while 42 per cent said their income is from welfare . . . "WSIB is a nightmare . . . The system is totally, totally broken" "

JANUARY 2008:

TTC Drivers Suffer Severe Stress, No Compensation - "When people are injured, I mean certainly city workers, police officers, there's an expectation that if it's not their fault, which it isn't, that they should be compensated for it."

WHSCC data security breach alarming - A security lapse involving Newfoundland and Labrador's workers' compensation agency files is unacceptable, an advocate says. . . . "There's no way that any worker should have to fear that their personal information is shared or in the hands with someone else. There should have been measures so that it would never happen."

WCB SHIELD - "If there was ever an Alberta disadvantage crying out for change, the WCB shield would be it."

NEW AUDIO - Friday, January 25th 2008: - Darrell Powell on CFRO COOP Radio
NEW AUDIO - Friday, January 18th 2008: - Darrell Powell on CFRO COOP Radio
NEW AUDIO - Friday, January 11th 2008: - Darrell Powell on CFRO COOP Radio

Pain progress comes slowly - "The stigma attached to chronic pain includes the attitude that people making this complaint are wimps, malingerers or fakers. . . . Even now, complains Mary Lynch, MD, one of Nova Scotia’s leading pain specialists, WCB policies on chronic pain lag behind medical science on such issues as sensory abnormalities, or nerve damage, which can cause pain to linger long after the injury appears to have healed. “As a clinician in the trenches treating the survivors of work-related injuries,” she wrote recently, “it has been a desperately sad process to witness.” . . . Court decisions in Nova Scotia, in 1993 and last month, put the force of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms behind the entitlement to compensation for chronic pain caused by a workplace injury. These decisions are expensive to employers, more than $200 million in total for some 7,400 claims opened for review. But the answer to high workers’ compensation insurance rates is better workplace safety, not the denial of fairness and justice."




DECEMBER 2007:

There's no gain when government nickels-and-dimes long-term pain - "Subsequent to Martin, the insult continues in a different guise. Now patients must be found to exhibit no objective findings, or to exhibit pain that is out of keeping with, or unusual, in light of the injury or findings, in order to qualify for access to compensation for chronic pain. These statements smack of patient-blaming and fly in the face of research regarding chronic post-traumatic pain, much of which is related to a neural response to tissue injury . . . Many of those left with chronic pain will not be able to recover loss through the tort system and the costs will come back to our health care and social assistance systems."

Depraved Indifference: The Workers' Compensation System - A new book by Patrice Woeppel, Ed.D. to be released in May 2008, "Depraved Indifference represents over five years of research and interviews. It lays bare a Workers’ Compensation system that cavalierly exposes workers to severe injury, toxic exposure and death; while throwing the major cost unto the family and the taxpayer, without fear of lawsuit, prosecution or even public outcry. It is a call to action . . . Almost a century after the introduction of Workers’ Compensation; workers, their families, communities – all pay the price for the devastating human and environmental consequences of this failure to hold corporations accountable for their actions."

Rehabilitation Expert Responds to WSIB's Letter of Defense of their Shocking TV Safety Ads - WSIB CEO, Steve Mahoney wrote a letter in the National Post defending the WSIB's gory and shocking TV safety ads and Dr. Lisa Doupe, rehabilitation expert, responds saying "Yes, safety does not take a holiday. Safety and prevention of occupational injuries and illness are good. I would like however draw to your attention to another area of the WSIB process. This concerns workers disabled by occupation and now further disabled by the process of an insurance system. . . . If Mr. Mahoney and the WSIB were truly interested in the safety and well being of Ontarians during this holiday season he need go no further than the expertise in Ontario-The Honorable Monique Begin, Canada’s Commissioner to the World Health Organization on the Social Determinants of Health as well as Jerome Bickenbach (Queens University) who has been seconded to the World Health Organization for the further development of a system that has already being implemented in Europe – The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)."

100% of Workers' Advocates have had clients who have committed suicide - from "Comments for the INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL On the WHSCC of New Brunswick Submitted by the Office of Workers’ Advocates November, 2007" - "All of the advocates have had clients who have committed suicide while on a claim."

Protest pushes for better compensation system - "Injured workers and supporters rallied across Ontario on Tuesday calling on the McGuinty government to improve the workers' compensation system." (LISTEN TO AUDIO OF RALLY)

(Show cancelled indefinitely) December 12 2007 - CIWS President, Beth McQuinn Nixon will appear on "The Verdict" at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV Newsnet. The CIWS will archive the video for future viewing. (From The Verdict website: "The Verdict with Paula Todd is Canada's first and only daily news series dedicated to crime, justice and legal affairs. It originally launched at the start of the Conrad Black trial and has since become the must-see program for Canadians who follow the drama and excitement that surrounds criminal justice and legal news."

ALERT ! Chronic pain court ruling - possible $12 million payout to 1,400 people -"The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has ruled that workers who were injured and developed chronic pain on the job before April 17, 1985, should be assessed for benefits."

CUPE and ONIWG rallies address injured workers' poverty - Injured workers 20 per cent behind in compensation; Province needs to act before more fall into poverty - "It's time for the Ontario government to reverse the effects of a law that has caused injured workers to lose 20 per cent in compensation earnings over the last decade while providing savings and reward payments to employers, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. . . . "Like much of what we see in today's economy, this law has shifted the burden of employment and social responsibilities from corporations onto the backs of workers in this province," said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Fred Hahn at a rally held in front of the Minister of Labour's Toronto offices. "If the McGuinty government is truly committed to poverty reduction, it must act on behalf of those workers who have sacrificed their health in workplaces to build Ontario and its economy."

(USA) US Court throws out WCB decision as age discrimination - "Court tackles age-discrimination claim in workers' comp . . . "The ACLU, AARP and other groups had challenged the board's decision, saying it was wrong to side with the insurer, the State Compensation Insurance Fund, in using an asymptomatic medical condition that often accompanies aging to reduce benefits for a job-related injury."

International Day of Disabled Persons - December 3 - United Nations Enable

NOVEMBER 2007:

Man, Paranoid of WCB, Charged with Murder (NS and Nfld) - Paranoia led father to stab her boyfriend, woman tells jury - "Penny Lockyer told a Corner Brook courtroom on Thursday that her father, Neil Lockyer, had become paranoid after suffering a brain injury in an industrial accident in 1989. She told the jury that her father thought that her boyfriend, Frank McKay, was a spy for the workers' compensation system, and that officials were trying to cut off his benefits. Neil Lockyer was charged with second-degree murder in the February 2006 stabbing death of McKay. ."(Note: The CIWS is not interested in sensationalizing such a tragic case and we do not condone or encourage violence, but we report incidents that may involve injured workers in order to expose the level of frustration and desperation many injured workers reportedly feel about the WCB system.)

Time to change WHSCC to help workers, says CUPE - CUPE New Brunswick has told the WHSCC Independent Review Panel that it's time to change the WHSCC and workers compensation system to help the workers, after years of an imbalance towards employers. Benefits, claims and prevention are the areas that need the most attention.

(USA) US Congress Bill demands parity between mental and physical health benefits - "Mental Health Parity: Not in Workers Comp" - "There is a bill pending in the US Congress to require parity between mental and physical health benefits. . . . the pending bill prepared by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill . . . provides full parity for all categories of mental disorders . . . Parity is an important concept, but one that simply does not exist in the workers comp system. Comp carriers habitually reject any claims for benefits based upon work-related mental disability (post traumatic stress syndrome, stress in general, depression, etc.)."

NDP MLA Chuck Puchmayr calls for public inquiry into WorkSafeBC - WorkSafeBC under fire from MLA, others - - "Puchmayr said that, on average, he gets one case a day where someone's claim has been denied or where someone has found out that they are not getting the compensation they think they deserve."

NB WHSCC Independent Review Panel seeks public input - "The Independent Review Panel for New Brunswick's Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) system is launching its public consultations. The panel invites the public to share their opinions, views and suggestions on how to improve or strengthen the province's current system."

(USA) LAW - WCB case one of Top 100 Opinions for 2007 - ". . . unsuitable job was inadequate reparation for her injuries . . . ruling is expected to set an important precedent for vocational rehabilitation and compensation cases"


OCTOBER 2007:

Health concerns extend beyond shipyard workers, council told - "A community group exploring the effects of exposure to toxins and chemicals on employees at the Marystown shipyard believes workers aren't the only ones who should be concerned. . . . Earlier this year, the Marystown Shipyard Families Alliance brought 39 claims for occupational disease before the Workplace Health Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) for review. Since holding an intake clinic in June, Bennett said, the group is working on at least 50 more cases. . . . few are aware the provincial government, which had owned the facility, hired environmental consulting firm Jacques Whitford to carry out a four-year assessment and cleanup of the shipyard area, as agreed when the province sold the operation . . . we think that people in that area are still at risk, have been and are showing the effects of it." The CIWS has pointed out how provincial governments are in a conflict of interest when WCBs refuse compensation to provincial government employees for occupational diseases. For more information see: DISCRIMINATION - Denying Compensation For Occupational Diseases

Nfld Supreme Court upholds compensation for cancer-stricken miner - "The Iron Ore Company of Canada had argued that the cancer . . . was not related to his work . . . Earlier this month, the United Steelworkers called on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to intervene in what the union calls attempts by IOC to tie up cancer-related workers' compensation cases in red tape."

(AU) Greens Stand Up As Labor Strips Yet More Rights From Injured Tasmanian Workers

Another WCB Evacuation - "A number of downtown streets were closed early Friday afternoon as police looked into an incident at the Workers Compensation Board head office at 333 Broadway."(Note: The CIWS does not condone or encourage violence but we report incidents that may involve injured workers in order to expose the level of frustration and desperation many injured workers reportedly feel about the WCB system.)

(USA) 1.3 billion days of work lost annually to mental disorders- "Mental disorders account for about one-third of all sick days, roughly equal to those caused by back pain, according to the most comprehensive report yet on the effect of illness on disability. "It is ironic we spend the least on musculoskeletal disorders and depression when they have the most impact on people's lives and disability," (*** NOTE*** The CIWS has pointed out how provincial governments are in a conflict of interest when they allow the WCB to deny chronic stress claims due to workload in hospitals and schools. This allows them to understaff their hospitals and schools without having to face workplace safety inspections. (See Workplace Safety Inspections - 'Out of Synch'). The fact that WCB denies stress claims is not only discriminatory, but it also harms Canadian society by contributing to chronic understaffing. Understaffing has been implicated in the increasing injury rates of workers and in the deaths of patients due to medical errors. Chronic understaffing also contributes significantly to increased wait times in Canadian hospitals.)


New Brunswick Review Panel seeks public input - Oct. 17, 2007 - The "Independent" Review Panel for New Brunswick's Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) system is launching its public consultations. The panel invites the public to share their opinions, views and suggestions on how to improve or strengthen the province's current system. The schedule for the public consultation meetings are as follows:
  • Monday, Nov. 5 - Château Edmundston, 100 Rice Street, Edmundston
  • Tuesday, Nov. 6 - Wu Centre, 6 Duffie Street, UNB Campus, Fredericton
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7 - Delta Hotel, Brunswick Square, Saint John
  • Wednesday, Nov. 21 - Atlantic Host Inn, 1450 Vanier Boulevard, Bathurst
  • Thursday, Nov. 22 - Future Inns, 40 Lady Ada Boulevard, Moncton

Winnipeg WCB Bomb Scare. "Why do you think I did this?" - "Disgruntled worker who sparked Winnipeg bomb scare avoids criminal record . . . The compensation board rejected his claim, forcing Wood into an even deeper funk . . . Wood spent three nights sleeping in his truck, then hit the highway to Winnipeg in a desperate bid to have his voice heard. "Why do you think I did this? CN and the Workers Compensation Board have been screwing us CN workers for years. Make us work injured. I'm just trying to get some attention. I want something done about this." (Note: The CIWS does not condone or encourage violence but we report incidents that may involve injured workers in order to expose the level of frustration and desperation many injured workers reportedly feel about the WCB system.)

(USA) Few lawyers willing to represent injured workers - ". . . lawyers say it's difficult for injured workers to get anyone to represent them. . . . In 1991, the state rule was changed from no attorney fee limits to a cap of $12,250 per case. . . . most attorneys were rejecting injured worker cases due to the financial limits, lawyers said. There are only a handful of attorneys who actually take injured worker cases, they said. . . . Hayashi said she is concerned about the "fairness issue" with fee caps applied only to attorneys representing injured workers. "

The Canadian Injured Workers Society would like to recognize Andrea Horwath, NDP MPP for Hamilton East in her recent re-election in the October 10 2007 Ontario provincial election. Andrea Horwath introduced Bill 162 - new non-reduced indexing factor - retroactive to 1994 (Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act (Indexing), 2006). The Bill amends the Act to remove the reduced indexing factor. The Bill also provides retroactiviity to 1994. If any payment made to a person on or after that date was less than the amount that would have been paid using the unreduced indexing factor, the Board must pay the difference to the person. (The CIWS is a non-partisan organization. We do not advocate any particular party or political ideology. However, we do recognize any Canadian politician who has taken concrete action to improve the workers compensation system for disabled workers.)

The Canadian Injured Workers Society would like to recognize Jennifer F. Mossop, LIB MPP for Stoney Creek. Although she did not seek re-election in the October 10 2007 Ontario provincial election, she introduced Bill 177 - Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act 2006. The Bill would amend the Act so that the WSIB will consider employment or business positions which are both suitable and available to the worker when determining the worker's post injury earnings. The Act only requires the Board to consider suitable positions and not whether they are also available to the worker. (The CIWS is a non-partisan organization. We do not advocate any particular party or political ideology. However, we do recognize any Canadian politician who has taken concrete action to improve the workers compensation system for disabled workers.)

Nova Scotia WCB Refuses to Acknowledge Symptoms - Gives Only $300/month to Unemployable Man - "For the past 20 years, Kelly's been unable to work. The heavy medication causes his hands to often shake uncontrollably. He even had to have a section of his rib grafted to replace his dissolved jaw. All this came from falling off a ladder at work - the injury that caused him to get the jaw replacement to begin with. But he gets only five per cent disability from workers compensation - about $300 a month - because the compensation board has refused to acknowledge his bizarre symptoms."

BC - Strike targets death toll - "There have been too many deaths, but there have also been even more maimings . . . WCB rules have been relaxed in the last half-dozen years, and there are fewer inspectors. . . . Once you’re hurt, it’s hard to collect any compensation without a union behind you. . . . WCB offers little or no retraining nowadays."

(USA) Lawmakers Ponder Power Shift in Workers' Compensation - "Legislators have learned that they have no one to blame but themselves for the loss of power over the rules that govern workers' compensation claims and benefits."

20,000 People could be Impacted by Court Decision - "Schroeder estimates about 20,000 people could be affected by the court's decision and the funds to be paid out for interest could range from $15 to $20 million."

B.C. Court Right to Make WCB Pay Interest - "The case, in a nutshell, revolves around WCB denying claimants interest on their awards. In other words, WCB thought it could basically keep people's money as settlements dragged on and then - and only then - pay interest if WCB was found to have made a "blatant" error. And that rule, surprise, surprise, was something the WCB came up with on its own in 2001. The B.C. Supreme Court correctly said that was unfair. As Drew Schroeder - the lawyer who fought this battle and won - pointed out, the stress of fighting compensation claims takes a tremendous toll on people's lives. To add another level of economic hardship is simply unacceptable."

OFL Report Exposes Employers Getting Rebates After Job Accidents - Ontario Federation of Labour releases report, the Perils of Experience Rating: Exposed! "The Report shows that . . . This practice encourages employers to mis-report and under-report accidents, to force injured workers back to work before they are medically ready, and to pay workers sick pay rather than have them receive compensation benefits. Anything goes to keep the employers claims history in good standing. "Tens of millions of dollars are drained out of the WSIB's accident fund each year by employers who have learned how to play the game of experience rating," said Samuelson. "In fact, according to the WSIB's own figures, rebates have exceeded penalties by more than half a billion dollars in the last four years alone."

UPDATE FROM AUGUST - PC Clare receives answers from Steve Mahoney (WSIB) and responds: "Answers on WSIB insufficient"

“Shame, shame” - Liberal Steve Peters Broke Promise to Injured Workers - Labour draws eyes to injured workers - Holding placards and chanting, “Shame, shame,” a group of about 50 people journeyed from Toronto, Windsor and elsewhere in Ontario to the Elgin-Middlesex-London campaign office of Liberal candidate Steve Peters.

INJURED WORKERS BETRAYED BY ANOTHER LIBERAL BROKEN PROMISE - Deeming is the process where permanently disabled workers can see their compensation benefits reduced because the WSIB deducts wages they imagine the injured worker could be earning. The Board makes no attempt to determine if the worker actually has a job or actually earns income. They simply gaze into their crystal ball and tell the injured worker "you could be earning this amount" and wave a magic wand and make the worker's benefits disappear. . . . "Deeming will not be eliminated by these new policies, only be given a new name," Crevar said.


SEPTEMBER 2007:
NFLD/LAB Leaders' Debate - Injured Workers Confront Leaders To Call For a Judicial Inquiry:

Thanks to: NTV and Newfoundland Labrador Injured Workers Association - Patricia Dodd, President
nfld video video  - Newfoundland leaders debate rally 2007 NEWS STORY!

SEE VIDEO

Which Party Speaks for Injured Workers? - "Who speaks for injured workers? Who will respond to their economic plight and help restore dignity to their lives?" asks Karl Crevar Treasurer of the Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups (ONIWG).

Leaders' Debate Derailed By Injured Workers Calling For Judicial Inquiry (NFLD) - 50 - 100 Injured Workers Converged on Political Leaders Outside the NTV Studio Just Before the Newfoundland Leaders' Debate. Rally organized by the Newfoundland and Labrador Injured Workers Association makes impact at leaders' debate.

75% of Alberta WC Board Stacked with Tories - "Journal reporters . . . discovered a disproportionately large number of card-carrying, high-profile Tories."

Workers Compensation Unions "sound the alarm" - All Injured Workers Need Fair Treatment - "We know the system and its failures best. We know how to fix the problems and think it's 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." - What alarm, Mr. Mahoney? Could it be your own employees know of, and want to put a stop to, the unfair practices and tactics used by the WSIB? "

(USA) National Study of the Workers Compensation System - Presidential Candidate John Edwards promises to "stand up for injured workers by undertaking a comprehensive national study of the workers compensation system and will use the bully pulpit of the White House to urge states to create a fair and rational system that provides clear timelines and options for injured workers."

SICKO! (USA) Injured Workers "Committing Suicide" - Don't Forget the Injured Worker on Labor Day in California - "Reality is that Workers Compensation is not about truth and justice, nor is it about fairness and equity. It's simply about money and power . . . It’s about medical-legal doctors who prostitute themselves and use more of their creative writing skills than their medical skills for those big money payoffs from the insurance carriers . . . It's getting so bad that injured workers suffering in excruciating pain and getting a blind ear from the insurance companies and their defense counsel are simply committing suicide and that is a list that keeps growing and growing as time goes on with no relief in sight." The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using an insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims.

NWT WCB Discriminates Against Psychologically Injured Workers - The Minister for the Northwest Territories WCB, David Krutko, Independent for Mackenzie Delta, requests and receives amendment to exclude mental stress as a result of labour relations matters from the list of compensable injuries. "At the Minister’s request, a further amendment was made to exclude mental stress as a result of labour relations matters from the list of compensable injuries . . ." Reported in the Report on the Review of Workers’ Compensation Act, August 2007 - For more information see: DISCRIMINATION - Denying Compensation For Occupational Diseases


AUGUST 2007:

WSIB CASTIGATES INJURED WORKER:
HISTORY:
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
***UPDATE*** October 4, 2007 - PC Clare receives answers from Steve Mahoney and responds: Answers on WSIB insufficient

Darrell Powell attends as press representative as PM Officially Launches Mental Health Commission of Canada - Darrell Powell attended as press representative for CFRO COOP Radio at the announcement. The Mental Health Commission of Canada announced their Board of Directors and Advisory Committee Chairs today as well. (More on Darrell Powell)

SICKO! (USA) Report on Insurance Greed - American Association For Justice "Pattern of Greed: How insurance companies put profits over policyholders" reveals how insurers collected billions in premiums from policyholders and then stiffed them in their time of greatest need. It highlights the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the secondary devastation caused by the insurance companies. The AAJ called on insurance regulators to immediately initiate investigations into companies that continue to unfairly delay and deny thousands of unresolved claims. The CIWS has pointed out how Canadian WCBs are increasingly using an insurance-industry business model to delay and deny legitimate claims.

(USA) Supreme Court clarifies workers' comp claims re: subcontractors- " The law -- intended to discourage companies from subcontracting regular work to avoid the cost of workers' comp insurance -- provides that a company is responsible for subcontracted employees when it farms out "regular or recurrent" work to another business. It exempts companies from lawsuits filed by employees covered by their workers' comp insurance. "

(USA) State of Ohio Sues Workers Comp Insurance Companies- " The state of Ohio has filed an anti-trust lawsuit accusing Marsh & McLennan Cos, American International Group Inc. and three other insurers and their subsidiaries of price fixing and other anti-competitive behavior, Attorney General Marc Dann said Monday.. . . Following a three-year investigation by Mr. Dann, the lawsuit accuses Marsh & McLennan of orchestrating a secret conspiracy to artificially inflate prices while feigning competition."

"Slave Worker" Under Canada’s Live-in Caregivers Program Not Covered By CSST - Domestic workers are not covered By CSST (Quebec workers compensation) - ". . . Several other domestic workers . . . filed cases with the Quebec labour board against their employers for unpaid wages, long hours of work, verbal and physical abuse, sexual harassments and a whole slew of other disturbing work conditions that they face outside of the public eye as they work isolated in their employer’s homes. To make matters worse, Canada, as part of extending its temporary workers program is making deals with the Philippines to contract hundreds of Filipino migrant labourers to work in the oil sands of Alberta."

Precedent Setting Ruling on 'Independent Contractors' - A Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal ruling has thrown into question the notion that B.C. truckers are independent "owner-operators" responsible for their own WorkSafeBC coverage because they own their rigs.

PTSD Can Be Induced By Adversarial Workers Compensation System - "To put it simply, Legal Abuse Syndrome is the result of an abuse of power differential. The legal system represents the power to take a life, incarcerate a person, remove a person’s children, family or property . . . conditions that cause Legal Abuse Syndrome come from often inadvertent but officially sanctioned bullying."

Candidate stances on WSIB important - an open letter to all party candidates for the up coming October election in Ontario re: WSIB

Twice injured workers in double trouble - Eastport fisherman reinjured while under care of workers' comp one of many with few options

Access to justice a `basic right' - Country's top judge says the system's high cost is an `urgent' problem that must be addressed.

SICKO! (USA) Workers Comp and Aetna Insurance "Stalking" Permanently Disabled Woman- "There’s something creepy going on here. . . . she saw the video and realized that someone had been following her, slinking about with a camera to catch her doing something she shouldn’t be able to do." Canadian workers compensation boards also use video surveillance on injured workers. See: Mental Damage Caused by Inappropriate Video Surveillance of Injured Workers

(USA) Employer WCB Fraud Pegged at $100 BILLION in California Alone- Bill Zachary who chairs the California Fraud Assessment Commission says, " The focus at the commission and among law enforcement is shifting from employee fraud to . . . employers misreporting payroll . . ." The CIWS has pointed out that WCBs and the insurance industry have overplayed the level of fraud by injured employees, falsely profiling injured workers as liars, cheaters and frauds. Yet only 0.01% of employee claims are fraudulent. Employer fraud is much more of a cost factor at up to 23% of private industry payroll according to this report.

SICKO! (USA) Even Superman Had To Fight the Insurance Companies- ". . . the late Christopher Reeve . . . had to push hard for the necessary (and expensive) exercise equipment that would help prevent his muscles from succumbing to atrophy."

Doctors Milking Workers' Compensation - Single medical practice says it reviewed 13,354 WCB cases in a year.

WCB overhaul called for - Thousands of contentious claims.

Alberta Minister Iris Evans 'Betrays Worker" - Gets WCB to Draft Letter Refusing Help - "He expected Employment Minister Iris Evans would help him in his battle with the Workers' Compensation Board . . . Evans instead got the WCB to draft her letter refusing to help him - and she’s not the first Conservative government minister to have pulled the move, despite the WCB being an arm’s length public body." - "Evans 'betrays' worker" by Jeremy Loome.


JULY 2007:

(USA) Injured Worker Faces Trumped Up Workers Fraud Case- ". . . it is quite clear that the public defender . . . and his law firm are an integral part of the high dollar stakes system of railroading innocent injured workers as trade for financial rewards from the state's insurance commission."

CIWS Estimate of Claimant Fraud (0.01%) Confirmed by New York Statistics- " For years, the “fraudulent workers’ compensation claim” has been the battle cry of the insurance industry. Now, the facts are out, and they show that while worker fraud is minimal, insurer fraud is massive in scope. The NYS Insurance Department reports that a typical workers’ compensation insurer found 320 cases of worker fraud in 31,000 claims – a rate of one-tenth of one percent." The CIWS has estimated an extremely low claimanrt fraud rate as well, at 0.01% - one tenth of one percent.

Compensate families of Alcan lung cancer victims, panel rules (Quebec)- " The families of 10 former Alcan Inc. employees who died of lung cancer after being exposed to workplace carcinogens should be compensated, an independent panel in Quebec has ruled."

WSIB Removed from Facebook for Posting Callous Photos that Mock Injured Workers - " . . . the photos and the comments on them display "a contemptible level of callousness" towards injured workers, and . . . show the WSIB views injured workers as "worthy of mockery, rather than respect and empathy."

NEW! ALBERTA PETITION Alberta Injured workers are calling for the WCB Board of Directors to hold public hearings throughout Alberta. Please help gather signatures for the Alberta Petition by printing it and distributing it freely.

SICKO! Many victims of asbestos-caused cancers left uncompensated, study says- ". . . Jim Brophy, one of Canada's top occupational health experts, said Ontario taxpayers have been covering huge medical bills for people with mesothelioma and thousands of other asbestos-caused cancers - costs that should have been covered by fees the WSIB charges employers to cover workplace diseases."

(USA) Oklahoma Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional to restrict evidence from the personal doctor of a worker - The provision in question allowed the employer to choose the "treating physician" in a workers' comp case . . . Evidence from the personal doctor of a worker could not be presented, however.

System Creates Incentives for Employers to Hide Injuries - “ . . . there are strategies employed in the workplace to keep people from making Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claims . . . What I’m seeing is that there is a greater and greater disparity between what’s really happening in the workplace and what’s being reported in (the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) . . . That is a system creating incentives for employers to hide injuries.”

Workers Compensation Disagrees With StatsCan Workplace Injury Statistics - Statistics Canada says New Brunswick workers are most likely to be injured on the job. Yet "Mary Tucker of the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission said its numbers show the opposite"Who is lying here? The CIWS has repeatedly pointed out that workers compensation boards are reporting false workplace injury statistics. See WCBs Report False Workplace Injury Statistics

Forum '07 'Emerging Health & Safety Issues in Changing Workplaces: A Canadian Discussion' - Sept 17-18, 2007, Vancouver, BC- hosted by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). Expert presenters, Canadian and international researchers, policy-makers, compensation specialists and other experts will share their knowledge of issues impacting today's workplaces, including precarious employement, emerging technologies and processes, work organization and stress and gaps in protection, accountability and responsibility.

WCBs Are Undermining the Public Health Care System - ". . . as public insurance institutions, workers' compensation boards should be brought into compliance with the principles of the Canada Health Act. One public service should not be a vehicle driven by employers to undermine another. . . . In British Columbia, for example, WorkSafe BC has, in its own words, "aggressive" targets to reduce the average short-term claim duration. To the extent that workers are pressured into returning to work too quickly, the costs of workers' compensation will be eventually transferred to the public health system . . . For its part, it is the responsibility of the federal government to work to ensure that in no way is the Canada Health Act undermined, thwarted or contravened. The exclusion from the CHA of insured services delivered under workers' compensation should be dropped." From: Health Care Privatization and the Workers' Compensation System in Canada - prepared for presentation at The Canadian Political Science Association meetings Saskatoon, June 1, 2007 by CLC senior researcher, Teresa Healy

SICKO! Alberta Injured Worker on Social Services and Still Fighting WCB Years After Injury

SICKO! Saskatchewan WCB - Committee of Review Report 2006 released- "The candour, frustration, anger and tears of the persons who spoke to us, demonstrated again the profound impact the legislation and decisions by the members and employees of the Workers’ Compensation Board have on individuals, families and businesses . . . With the exclusive authority and immunity given to the Board . . . It is expected the Board and each employee of the Board will exercise the Board’s enormous power over individuals in a fair and reasonable manner . . .for the communal and public good, not for private, selfish or profit interests."
(Part 1) (Part 2)

A Giraffe has been sighted in Vancouver BC - David Kuntz MD - Kuntz’s advocacy on behalf of injured people denied medical treatment has brought this much honored physician not new honors but the loss of his medical license, his home and his savings . . . . former patients . . . allege that there has been an orchestrated campaign to silence their doctor . . . "I felt I had a duty to keep trying to help these workers prematurely abandoned by the WCB while legitimate problems remained untreated. They had nowhere else to turn,"

6th International Conference on Workplace Bullying - Call for Papers

Workers’ Compensation Conference Entitled ‘Long Term Injuries – Long Term Issues,’ - will be held at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, September 21-23. The conference will address the workings of the Ontario Board and Ontario legislation, with the objectives of increasing the capacity to deal with long term injuries and related issues., creating alliances and continuing to build the Take it Back campaign. The Take it Back campaign is the CAW’s mission to make the compensation system more fair and establish dignity for injured workers, who under the current system, have been given reduced benefits and are forced back to work whether they are ready or not. Along with the Take it Back campaign, this year’s Workers’ Compensation Conference will focus on return to work, labour market re-entry and compensation policy, with the choice of beginner or advanced workshops. Registration deadline for accommodation and child care is August 31. For more information, contact: Sari Sairanen, Health & Safety Director 1-800-268-5763 ext. 789


JUNE 2007:

DARRELL POWELL on CANADA DAY 2007 - "CELEBRATION OR TIME TO REFLECT ON OUR VALUES" - "Is it time for Celebration on Canada Day or is it time to act upon Reflection. Because, in the end, we will decide our values, and they will be reflected in our standards."

SICKO! Canadian WCBs are Members of American Insurance Company-controlled Research Factories - The Workers Compensation Research Institute's (WCRI's) governance and research is controlled largely by American Insurance companies.

WHSCC Review Open For Public Submissions - Independent Review Panel of the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation System" (WHSCC) New Brunswick is open for public submissions

12% of workplace injury costs downloaded onto the health care system by WorksafeBC - "Substantial costs remain uncompensated by the provincial compensation agency and are thus transferred to the provincial health care system annually."

Mining industry wants immunty on workplace deaths (US)

(USA) 67 nuclear bomb plant workers died waiting for benefits (US) - Setback for Ill Workers at Nuclear Bomb Plant - "We ask neither for sympathy nor charity. All we ask for is the truth."

SICKO! Worksafe denied the claim so Taxpayers paid the bill for 20 years - Ever since her accident, the single mom has survived on social assistance and lived perilously close to the poverty line. "People’s taxes have been paying for me to live while the employer funded insurance policy denies my claim."

(USA) Effort to repeal workers' compensation reforms under way in California - As expected, big business is already on the offensive

Supreme Court orders WCB to review claim for injuries - Injured ride technician . . . has spent nearly $50,000 on legal and medical bills . . . "the way I was treated [by the board] wasn't right."

SICKO! Shipyard families waiting for answers - Pushing for clinic to determine industrial impact on community - "What we feel we deserve from (WHSCC) would obviously be compensation for all these families, men and the widows that have been left behind,"

Nurses refuse to staff Hull ER for 2 hours - (workers compensation contributes to increased wait times in hospitals)

SICKO! Ex-miner seeks compensation - Cigar Lake flood has lasting effects on father of five

(USA) US - Feds deny workers compensation for radiation exposure - “Our workers should not have to fight for their lives and fight with the government at the same time.”

The 60 Summits Project (sponsored by Prudential Financial Inc.) is promoting adoption of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine's (ACOEM) guideline "Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed" throughout Canada and the US. This guideline advocates paying SOME doctors - but not all doctors, saying "Make billing for these services a privilege, not a right, for providers and make that privilege contingent on completion of training and an ongoing pattern of evidence-based care and good-faith effort to achieve optimal functional outcomes." (The CIWS believes that the insurance industry and workers compensation boards should not be involved in interfering with the medical profession. Privileged payment schemes to SOME doctors would constitute interference.) (Prudential Financial, Inc. has teamed up with the 60 Summits Project to promote adoption of the above ACOEM guideline.)

'Safety Lottery Encourages Accident Cover-ups' - Workers' Health and Safety Not a Lottery - " . . . the new management approach to resolving health and safety problems by draw . . . . a manoeuvre that . . . has had the perverse effect of encouraging people not to declare minor accidents"

Darrell Powell to cover The 19th IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion and Health Education - Darrell Powell is also coordinator of a submission to the Senate Sub-Committee on Population Health regarding the need to review WCBs in Canada as a negative social determinant in health. He will also be covering the IUHPE (International Union for Health Promotion and Education) 2007 Conference in Vancouver June 10th - 15th. His findings will be included in the CFRO COOP Radio 102.7 series on workers compensation the week following the conference. (CDs will be available.) Discussions and thematic of conference will be integrated and explored in relation to occupational injury/disability, recovery and societal participation/equitable status.

Class Action - Standing Up For Disabled Ontarians - Lawyer Sarah Shartal has launched a class action lawsuit on behalf of 230,000 disabled Ontarians caught in bureaucratic quagmire.

Injured workers make themselves heard- Delegation meets with Labour Minister Steve Peters

Injured workers take case to MPP; Day of protest marked across Ontario- "Injured workers are being left out in the cold, . . ."

Injured Workers Seek Faster Compensation- ". . . injured workers are falling into poverty. It's a breakdown of the whole system," . . .,"

Hundreds of Ontario Injured Workers Gather at Queen's Park - "Our workers have fallen into poverty because of either a workers' compensation claim or workplace injury,"



MAY 2007:

Fair and Reliable Medical Justice Act - US- "The alternatives could include the creation of special health courts that would expedite medical injury cases, provide prompt and reasonable compensation to injured patients, and facilitate enhancements in patient safety."

SICKO! NDP Blasts Campbell Government for Abandoning Injured Workers - "The Campbell government lets WorkSafe sit on this huge surplus while denying loss-of-earning benefits to workers who have been injured on the job. And that’s wrong."

Food Bank Feeding Injured Workers as WorkSafeBC Reports Surpluses Over $2.2 Billion


(USA) SICKO! California Workers' Compensation "Fixed" So That Insurer Profits Are Greater Than Benefits Paid to Workers - Judge Declares Schedule of Payments to Permanently Disabled Workers is Illegal. (***NOTE*** The CIWS has pointed out that the Canadian workers compensation boards seem to be following a US insurance industry for-profit model so that, in Canada, massive rebates are going back to employers as injured workers fall into poverty. See WCB Has An 'Identity Crisis') ---- Also, the issue of illegal impairment ratings has been discussed by the CIWS at: http://www.ciws.ca/workers_compensation_law_legislation.htm#ama

(USA) SICKO! Michael Moore's Latest Film "SICKO" Stirs Passions in Workers Compensation Industry - Michael Moore's latest film "SICKO" has been credited with reviving hope for injured workers.

SICKO! Our Firefighters Deserve Much Better

(USA) Ex-workers' comp official gets 5 years - . . . Attorney General Marc Dann, a Democrat, said that questions remain about how politics influenced the bureau's investment practices. "While Mr. Gasper acknowledged in court what many of us have known all along, that the BWC became a veritable ATM machine that was used by Republican political appointees to reward campaign contributors, we still don't know who was pulling the strings," he said.

(USA) Ex-Ohio Workers’ Comp Exec Sentenced - The former chief financial officer of the Ohio workers’ compensation agency was sentenced Wednesday to more than five years in federal prison for accepting bribes in an investment scandal widely blamed for state Republican losses in last year’s election.

NEWS RELEASE - Canadian Injured Workers Society - The CIWS congratulates firefighters but reinforces presumptive status for all injured workers

U of T Law Students Provide Legal Services for Injured Workers

SICKO! WorkSafeBC Too Autonomous - "the whole system is a mess"

SICKO! Bus Driver Denied WorkSafeBC Benefits Turns to BC Supreme Court

SICKO! BC - BILL 33 Strips Away Injured Workers' Access to Human Rights Bill 33, in its first reading in BC, takes away the Human Rights of injured workers to have their rights interpreted by the WCB. It is an amendment to the Administrative Tribunals Act which circumvents the responsibility of aministrative tribunals (such as WorkSafe BC) to apply the Charter and Constitution. It strips injured workers of their access to fundamental justice and basic human rights.

Tears greet compensation law - `It's been a hard battle for many firefighters and their families' - Tears of pain have rolled down Nathan Shaw's face over the loss of his father, a Hamilton firefighter, to cancer. There have also been tears of frustration fighting the workers' compensation board and trying to prove his father's cancer was caused by a toxic blaze at a plastics plant."" (***NOTE*** The CIWS is has been pointing out that the firefighters should never have had to fight for this redundant legislation because the intent of the original WCB Act legislation in all provinces was that ALL workers should have immediate presumptive status regardless of their industry and that the burden of proving that the injury was NOT work related is the sole responsibility of the board. See VIOLATING THE ENABLING LEGISLATION - Violating Presumptive Status)

(USA) SICKO! The Workers' Compensation System Should Be Abolished - Worker who had a leg amputated receives only $3360 in compensation for his permanent injuries. (***NOTE*** The CIWS is concerned that the Canadian workers compensation system is following an insurance industry cost-reduction model by denying compensation, delaying compensation, under-compensating and prematurely cutting off compensation to injured workers. This article shows how far the US insurance industry model has gone to deny injured workers fair compensation. Canada is following closely behind. See WCB Has An 'Identity Crisis')



APRIL 2007:

"IN DENIAL" Breaking the Silence About Workers' Compensation, Health and the Law - "Dedicated to all those who have suffered due to workplace injury, disability and compensation schemes in Canada."
Attention all disabled workers and their families:
HAVE YOU BEEN HARMED BY THE WCB PROCESS? Join in assisting CFRO Radio show guest speaker, Darrell Powell, with his submission to the Senate Sub-Committee on Population Health regarding the need to review WCBs in Canada as a social determinant in health.

(Thanks to CFRO COOP Radio and host Charles Boylan! - - - - - ----- For more information, go to http://www.wakeupwithcoop.org or 102.7 F.M Vancouver
- - - - - - - LISTEN TO ARCHIVED AUDIO
UPDATE: - WEEKLY RADIO SHOW Friday Mornings on COOP Radio starting May 18th

Compensation not fail-proof: labour leader
"It's become an insurance policy for employers against being sued by their employees or their families for criminal negligence,"

YUKON - Minister receives major WCB report Julia Skikavich reports from the Whitehorse Star that the Worker’s Compensation Act review panel has released its report and recommendations. The 238-page document was sent out at 1 p.m. Wednesday to Brad Cathers, the minister responsible for the Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board, and all stakeholders who took part in the panel’s hearings.http://www.whitehorsestar.com/auth.php?r=46861

Domestic Workers at Risk MONTREAL, April 21 /CNW Telbec/ - The CSST for Domestic Workers Campaign invites you to a public forum on domestic workers' rights on Sunday April 22 from 2-4 pm at 2149 Mackay. Speakers include representatives from trade unions and community organisations. Domestics are among the only salaried workers required to pay their own CSST premiums if they want to be covered in case of workplace accident. They deserve the same access to compensation as any other worker. For further information: IWC, (514) 342-2111, [email protected]

(USA) Federal Lawsuit Alleges Abuse of the Medicare Program by California Workers Comp and Seeks to Recover $20 Million in Damages

'Reality check' on WCB injury and death rates in N.S

Workers’ Compensation was a train wreck waiting to happen - Prosecutions for BWC need to occur (Ohio)

TRADEtalk (BC/Yukon construction trades magazine) Spring 2007 says: An article in the last edition of TRADEtalk about the problems of settling claims with WorkSafeBC prompted calls from several desperate readers. Each person had a horror story to relate. Many people have been refused benefits or had their compensation greatly reduced. . . . "Under the current provincial administration,WorkSafeBC has undergone tremendous restructuring.Among the changes, occupational health and safety regulations have been cut.” Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour said. . . . Sadly, despite our warnings, this is a clear indictment of the B.C. Liberals’ agenda of cuts and deregulation. Workplace inspections by WCB have fallen by 44% since 2001, and the resulting value of penalties has dropped by 57%.” Sinclair added that regulation changes for WorkSafeBC have added further hardship for victims of workplace injuries. It’s more difficult to have claims accepted. However, if they are approved, the benefits are smaller. . . ."

Saskatchewan WCB Blasted by Privacy Commissioner "The Commissioner found that the WCB disclosed to the Complainant’s employer more personal information and personal health information than was necessary . . .that the WCB failed to adequately safeguard the Complainant’s information . . . there was a more or less continuous flow to the Employer of copies of most communications between the Case Manager and this Complainant . . . safeguards were effectively short-circuited by the apparent practice of routine sharing of copies of correspondence intended for the claimant with the claimant’s Employer . . . the WCB in certain key areas had not met the requirements of HIPA, of FOIP or of the Overarching Personal Information Privacy Framework for Executive Government."


MARCH 2007:

WCBs Using Illegal Disability Ratings - confirmed by JAMA and Forensic Toxicologist, Dr. Brautbar (involved in the Hinckley poisoning case seen in the movie "Erin Brokovich")

WSIB Appeals Tribunal Erects Barriers to Human Rights Hearings

Alberta reviews 130 boards reporting to province

Examining the examiners (re: Independent Medical Examiners) ". . . there is a dark underbelly in the business . . . many patients are being profoundly mistreated."

NOTICE TO BC WORKERS - Worksafe BC Forced to Change Disability Policy After Court Ruled it "patently unreasonable"
Notice to All Workers Granted Permanent Disability Awards Prior to June 30, 2002 - you are eligible to have your permanent award reassessed if your condition deteriorates after that date. The policy has been changed after the BC supreme Court quashed a policy decision of the WCB (Worksafe BC) on the ground that it made a patently unreasonable interpretation of the word "recurrence" to include deterioration.

WCB - violations of fundamental human rights and dignity

Fear strikes WCB
"The Workers Compensation Board has been screwing us CN workers for years," the man yelled at the crowd. "I'm just trying to get some attention." (Note: The CIWS does not condone or encourage violence but we report incidents that may involve injured workers in order to expose the level of frustration and desperation many injured workers reportedly feel about the WCB system.)

Bomb scare empties Winnipeg buildings, streets
Several streets around the Workers Compensation Board building in downtown Winnipeg were closed for several hours early Wednesday afternoon after a large truck was driven onto the steps of the building. . . . CBC reporter Sheila North-Wilson spoke to the man moments before he was put into a police cruiser. He expressed exasperation over issues related to the Workers Compensation Board and CN Rail. (Note: The CIWS does not condone or encourage violence but we report incidents that may involve injured workers in order to expose the level of frustration and desperation many injured workers reportedly feel about the WCB system.)


FEBRUARY 2007:

Newfoundland Government-Owned Business in Marystown Not Compensating Toxic Chemical Cancer Victims - CAW


8th Annual International RSI Awareness Day Conference Toronto (*RSI= Repetitive Strain Injury)
Please join us for a fun and informative day as we discuss: *Regulating, Accommodating and Compensating RSI* Who should attend: Injured workers, compensation reps., health & safety reps., anyone who works or has an interest in preventing RSI through Ergonomic Regulations, accommodating workers with RSI and seeing that they receive fair compensation. Learn: What has happened since last year Hear from the top labour leaders What is the Government doing Tips on successfully accommodating RSI From the experiences of injured workers dealing with the WCB (WSIB) Join with other activists to make RSI an election issue When: Wednesday Feb. 28, 2007 9:30 am – 4:00 pm Registration and Coffee begins at 9 am Where: United Steel Workers Hall, 25 Cecil Street, Toronto (free parking) Spadina & College Cost: Free includes lunch and breaks please register by Friday Feb. 23. 2007 so we have numbers for food by contacting: Audrey Parkes email: [email protected] or phone: (416) 461-2411 ext 34

Public Compensation Coalition

Class Action Against WCB Allowed - regarding BC "New Interest Policy"
(Citation: Johnson v. Workers' Compensation Board et al.,2007 BCSC 24 Date: 20070109)


Auditor General to watch Alberta Health, WCB - (re: Doctors Double-Billing)


Are You a Woman Who Has Been or Is Currently a Victim of Workplace Bullying*? If so, we'd like to hear from you. The N.B. Advisory Council on the Status of Women has hired facilitators to hold focus group sessions next week, to help develop suggestions to deal with this problem. If you are of have been a victim of bullying at work, and are willing to give us a couple of evening hours, please call us at 444-4101 or 1-800-332-3087 or email [email protected] *Workplace bullying is usually defined as repeated, unreasonable behaviour that intimidates or humiliates you. Examples include frequent insulting remarks, constant criticism in front of others, withholding of information. The bully can be a supervisor, a co-worker, a client, a supplier or even a visitor to the workplace. www.acswcccf.nb.ca


JANUARY 2007:

Commodification of Injured Workers

Nova Scotian injured workers form associations to defend their interests

Auditor General's Probe Finds Thousands of Doctors Double-Billing WCB and Alberta Health

Compensation Benefits Court Calls WCB Policy “Patently Unreasonable”
"No Person Of Conscience Could Do This To The Permanently Disabled"

The Consequences of Underreporting Workers' Compensation Claims


"Bottom Line" Conference - March 7,2007 - Vancouver, BC
The Elephant in the Room: Mental Illness in the Workplace
From one of the conference resource documents
"Navigating Workplace Disability Insurance Report and Documentary" by the Canadian Mental Health Association (also has video documentary)
" . . . The present project is part of a larger study relating to the factors that contributed to the death of Donald James Mayer, investigated in a Coroner’s Jury in the fall of 2000. . . one of the main reasons behind Mr. Mayer’s distress that day was the rejection of his disability insurance claim by his workplace insurance provider, after he had gone through a drawn-out application and appeal process for both coverage through a private insurer, as well as through the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). At the subsequent Coroner’s Inquest, at which CMHA BC Division had intervenor status, the Jury recommended to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association that the organization and others take steps to make the claim process more “efficient, accurate, and timely,” so as to help avoid similar situations in the future. The jury also made a recommendation to WCB about the need to consider “apparent work stress claims” more carefully . . . ”
FULL REPORT in pdf


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 19, 2007
UNDERSTAFFED & UNDER PRESSURE
FULL STORY: WCB Contributes to Increased Wait Times in Hospitals
Ontario's health care system near the breaking point
" . . . What the Federation found was a system stretched to its limit with diminished staffing levels, under resourced, exhausted front-line workers and heavy, heavy workloads on workers in every sector. . . . Talking to front line workers also produced the Report: Understaffed & Under Pressure: A reality check by Ontario health care workers. The Report outlines the conditions of the exhausted workers who are trying to provide the proper care to our society's sick, injured and frail in the face of our understaffed health care system and calls on the provincial government to restore and strengthen the public health care system. . . ." For more information: Dana Boettger, OFL Communications Director 416.4443.7665 Terry Downey, OFL Executive Vice-President 416.578.3230 (cellular) (*** NOTE*** The CIWS has pointed out how provincial governments are in a conflict of interest when they allow the WCB to deny chronic stress claims due to workload in hospitals and schools. This allows them to understaff their hospitals and schools without having to face workplace safety inspections. (See Workplace Safety Inspections - 'Out of Synch'). The fact that WCB denies stress claims is not only discriminatory, but it also harms Canadian society by contributing to chronic understaffing. Understaffing has been implicated in the increasing injury rates of workers and in the deaths of patients due to medical errors. Chronic understaffing also contributes significantly to increased wait times in Canadian hospitals.)



BC - Nanaimo - Appeal vindicates injured worker - Kirsteen Verhey has won a four-year battle with the Workers’ Compensation Board on appeal.



MEDIA ADVISORY - January 16, 2007
OFL PRESENTS TO STANDING COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL POLICY BILL 140, AN ACT RESPECTING LONG-TERM CARE HOMES COMMITTEE ROOM 1, MAIN LEGISLATIVE BUILDING QUEEN'S PARK, TORONTO WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17 AT 3:45 P.M. (TORONTO)
Terry Downey, Ontario Federation of Labour's executive vice-president will present the OFL submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy outlining the Federation's policy position in this important sector in our health care system. The Ontario Federation of Labour constitutes the largest provincial labour federation in Canada with 700,000 members drawn from over 1500 locals and 40 different unions - including health care unions. "For our members, Bill 140 is a flawed piece of legislation reflecting the betrayal of Ontarians by this government," Downey says.
"The most fundamental flaw of Bill 140 is that is does not address the chronic and critical understaffing issue in long-term care."
"Just last week the SARS Commission released its final report on the 2003 SARS crisis and the findings by Justice Archie Campbell reflect what has happened to our whole health care system. Chronic underfunding, woefully inadequate staffing levels, heavy, heavy workloads and complete disregard for worker safety," Downey said. "The government must act now to fix the system - not scale back services and care that Ontarians need."
More information:
Dana Boettger, OFL Communications 416.443.7665
Terry Downey, OFL Executive Vice-President 416.578.3230 (cellular)
(***NOTE*** The CIWS has pointed out how provincial governments are in a conflict of interest when they allow the WCB to deny chronic stress claims due to workload in hospitals and schools. This allows them to understaff their hospitals and schools without having to face workplace safety inspections. (See Workplace Safety Inspections - 'Out of Synch'). The fact that WCB denies stress claims is not only discriminatory, but it also harms Canadian society by contributing to chronic understaffing. Understaffing has been implicated in the increasing injury rates of workers and in the deaths of patients due to medical errors. Chronic understaffing also contributes significantly to increased wait times in Canadian hospitals.)



Workplace safety inspections - 'Out of Synch': CBC - January 15, 2007
EXCERPTS: A CBC News investigation has found that workplace safety inspections in Canada are out of sync with the reality of the modern workplace environment. ---- In some provinces, claims to workers' compensation boards in workplaces that have traditionally been subject to safety inspections — such as construction, manufacturing, mining and forestry — are just as common as claims in workplaces that haven't been traditionally inspected — such as health care, education and office environments. Even so, visits from inspectors were up to 10 times more frequent in traditional workplaces than in non-traditional ones. ---- The problem is more severe in the health care field. Not only are health care workers facing an ever-increasing threat of violence, but the agencies responsible for regulating safety in hospitals are not doing their job.
From CBC's In Depth Report on Workplace Safety
Also see Map of Workplace Safety Inspections


Workers Compensation Boards Are Not Doing Their Job in Regulating Safety In Canadian Hospitals: CBC's Anna Maria Tremonti reports on "THE CURRENT" - January 15, 2007 Listen
(requires RealPlayer - download Basic RealPlayer free) A CBC investigation has revealed that not only are health care workers facing an ever increasing threat of violence but the agencies responsible for regulating safety in hospitals are not doing their job. In 2005, 73,000 nurses working in direct patient care in hospitals or long-term care facilities reported they had been physically assaulted by a patient, according to Statistics Canada. That amounts to 30 per cent of hospital nurses and 50 per cent of long-term care facility nurses. ---- And CBC's investigation showed that if you're involved in the health care industry, you're 6 to 12 times more likely to file a claim for Worker's Compensation for violence than employees from any other industrial sector. Gary Symons is part of the CBC's investigative team working on this story and he joined us from our studio in Kelowna BC … a province where statistics show one in every three nurses was assaulted in 2005.
EXCERPTS: SYMONS - "We have good reason to believe that (violent incidents) are actually being underreported by 50% . . . we see the same thing in hospitals right across the country . . . there were other cases including an armed robbery with a knife where no report was given to the Occupational Health and Safety Committee."
NURSES UNION - ". . . Workers Compensation has done nothing in follow-up . . . they are not supporting the worker, basically, and they are not following through on a lot of the investigations or any of the orders that are written and there are definitely no fines being issued . . . nurses have just lost faith in the workers compensation board here in British Columbia. They no longer feel it represents their interests at all. . . . nurses do not feel safe . . . it's only going to be a matter of time until somebody is killed."
SYMONS - "Governments are not looking at the root causes of this trend . . . the drastic overcrowding we're seeing in many Canadian hospitals."

Children, spouses of asbestos workers suffering Updated Sun. Jan. 14 2007 10:01 PM ET ---- TV.ca News Staff
EXCERPT: Many of the sons, daughters and spouses of Canadian workers sickened by asbestos are now discovering their own serious lung disorders and diseases, which doctors say were triggered by the poisonous dust brought home by their fathers and husbands. . . . "From a point of view of early detection and surveillance identification of this disease and making it a public health (issue) -- making the public aware of it could save people's lives," Brophy told CTV News. --- He also said the families of affected workers deserve financial assistance. ---- "It's so obvious compensation boards should be recognizing these people as suffering from work-related diseases whether they were in the workplace or not," he said.

* * * The CIWS now has an
Aboriginal Injured Workers Representative. * * *

Earlene Bitterman will be addressing the treatment of injured workers who are members of the First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities in Canada. To reach her, email the CIWS at and specify that your story relates to the aboriginal community.

WCB is shortchanging disabled workers of special needs allowances.--- CBC's "Morning Edition" reports: Alex Taylor (injured workers consultant in Saskatchewan) says that thousands of injured workers are not receiving these allowances (such as the Independence Allowance, the Personal Care Allowance, the Clothing Allowance and the Permanent Functional Impairment Allowance) because they don't know about them.
"I estimate that there are about 5000 - 6000 disabled workers in Saskatchewan alone who are not receiving proper benefits and their entitlements can range from $500 to $47,000 each depending on their case." - Alex Taylor
The problem, he says, is that injured workers are required to apply for these special needs allowances separately. However, WCB only advises them of these allowances by sending one pamphlet, and often, the worker is in hospital or otherwise indisposed when they receive it. Because they miss the notification for one reason or another, there are thousands of disabled workers who don't even know about their entitlement to these allowances. ----- James Parker, reporting on the CBC's "Morning Edition" says that, amongst the injured workers that Taylor has helped, they have collectively received over $750,000.00 in back pay and Taylor stimates that there could still be millions of dollars that are still owing to disabled workers in Saskatchewan. MORE INFO


SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH WCB's INJURY STATISTICS: CBC's Anna Maria Tremonti reports on "THE CURRENT" - January 8, 2007 LISTEN TO PART 1 LISTEN TO PART 2 (requires RealPlayer - download Basic RealPlayer free)
EXCERPTS: INJURED WORKER - "WCB was pressuring me"
UNION - "The WCB needs to be reviewed for their policies and practices"
IRIS EVANS (minister responsible for Alberta WCB) - "The new statistic . . . the Disabling Injury Rate . . . reflects all WCB reportable injuries whether Lost Time Claims or Modified Work. And I think that will begin to address the perception that people have that . . .we're not trying to reveal these statistics."
DR. LOUIS FRANCESCUTTI (teacher at the University of Alberta faculty of medicine and emergency room physician with a special interest in injury prevention) - " . . . "statistics are being doctored . . ."
(The CIWS agrees with Dr. Francescutti that workplace injury statistics are being doctored. The statistics reported by WCB (and referred to by Iris Evans above) only report ACCEPTED claims and do not report DENIED or PREMATURELY TERMINATED claims. They also do not include claims that were not reported due to COERCION OF WORKERS as addressed in the interview.)




DECEMBER 2006:

Since Ed Stelmach replaced Ralph Klein as leader of the PC party in Alberta, he has dumped from Cabinet the last two Ministers responsible for WCB, Clint Dunford and Mike Cardinal. The Edmonton Journal reported that "Among those sent to the backbenches are cabinet veterans Gary Mar, Clint Dunford, Mike Cardinal and Edmonton’s Gene Zwozdesky."
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=7d861094-ab76-457b-8301-a57c28f5c12f&k=0

Clint Dunford was criticized for not addressing the longstanding claims by injured workers before his portfolio was transferred. His replacement, Mike Cardinal was silent on the issue as well.

The drastic restructuring of the Alberta cabinet makes it unclear as to who has the WCB portfolio now, but it is likely Iris Evans, Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry.

Whether these changes translate into fairness for injured workers in Alberta remains to be seen.



FIVE DEATHS A DAY - Workplace deaths on the rise in Canada
Workplace deaths on the rise
Dec. 12, 2006. 07:33 AM
TOBI COHEN
CANADIAN PRESS
A new study shows the daily grind can be hazardous to your health, with an average of five Canadians dying on the job every work day.
* * * NOTE * * * This report takes its statistics from the Association of Workers Compensation Boards in Canada (AWCBC) which only reports ACCEPTED claims. The CIWS believes that the statistics ARE MUCH WORSE! See full report here.



Injured workers rally
Thunder Bay
News Source Web Posted: 12/7/2006 7:40:11 PM

Injured workers across the province are calling on the provincial government to restore benefits they've lost due to the high cost of living. Members and supporters of the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers' Support Group voiced their concerns at MPP Michael Gravelle's office Thursday, explaining the need for the provincial government to address this issue.

Support group president Janet Paterson says due to inflation over the past 10 years, injured workers have lost over 20 per cent in benefits forcing some people to reach out for more financial help. ''And what has happened then, is other systems end up having to take over.

We have people living on welfare, we have people living on CPP, on ODSP and on nothing'' she said.

Gravelle says improvements must happen soon and he's optimistic something will, as all parties have shown support on the first reading of his new Private Members Bill. Gravelle says this new legislation would attach a cost-of-living adjustment to workers' benefits, an improvement which he says is long overdue. ''I believe this is achievable, and it's something that I would expect that our government should be doing, and that's the basis of which I'm bringing forward.''

The injured workers and supporters ended off the rally on a musical note and sang their version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - to express their view on the system…(singing) 'We are the injured workers, we have something here to say, the system that you have going, should be burned and thrown away.'

* * * NOTE - Michael Gravelle's Bill 168 does not address retroactivity as does the previous Bill 162 introduced a week earlier by Andrea Horwath, NDP MPP for Hamilton East. (See "Politicians Who Take Action for Injured Workers"



MEDIA ADVISORY December 6, 2006
Queen's Park News Conference
"Every Worker in the Province Should Be Covered Under Workers' Compensation"
Media Studio Main Legislative Building Queen's Park, Toronto
Thursday December 7, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. (TORONTO)
"Why isn't every worker in the province covered by workers' compensation," Ontario Federation of Labour president Wayne Samuelson is asking. "How can we have a fair system of coverage for injured workers when not everyone is included?"

As a part of the OFL's ongoing campaign to protect the rights of workers injured on the job the Federation has been calling for fairness, protective legislation and inclusiveness in the workers' compensation system.

Speaking at the news conference: Andrea Horwath, NDP, MPP, Hamilton East Maryam Nazemi, Injured Worker - not covered by workers' compensation Wayne Samuelson, President, Ontario Federation of Labour

Following the news conference there will be a rally at 400 University Avenue, Ministry of Labour, Toronto.

More information: Wayne Samuelson, OFL President 416.571.7408 (cellular)
Dana Boettger, OFL Communications 416.443.7665



- The Canadian Injured Workers Society is happy to announce the election of their new Executive after their Annual General Meeting on December 2, 2006.

New to the Board are Fred Palmer of Newfoundland, Gary Nielsen of Alberta, Eva Menzies, and Earlene Bitterman both of British Columbia,. The Board is rounded out by D.M. Boyle Vice-President, and Mike Farrance Treasurer both of Ontario, and the newly elected President, Beth McQuinn Nixon of New Brunswick.

Outgoing President Jane Edgett of Saskatchewan was widely commended for her commitment to developing the organization and the time she has spent providing information on injured workers issues. Although she plans on being an active general member, her presence on the Board will be sadly missed.

Ms McQuinn Nixon is optimistic about what can be accomplished in the coming year. “The media is finally getting the tragic story of injured workers out to the public. In every province, in virtually every community you can find an injured worker who was not treated with dignity and respect. As we approach this holiday season I challenge every Canadian to think of injured workers and their families.”

CIWS was formed in 2005 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 Canadian Injured Workers Society is a non-profit organization committed to promoting fair and equitable compensation for injured workers across Canada. For more information about becoming a member please contact : or 506-432-9115. The society’s web page is http://www.ciws.ca


NOVEMBER 2006:

- WCB rates to drop in NWT - MLA Sandy Lee says the reduction is a result of the board denying legitimate claims


- Nabbed for car trick By CP LEVIS, Que. -- A man has been arrested after driving his vehicle into a building housing the province's workers compensation offices. Quebec provincial police were called to the scene near Quebec City after the man reportedly had a detonator attached to a gasoline can. The 51-year-old suspect had previously made threats to the office and threatened to kill himself with a knife. Local police say he was taken to hospital where he will undergo a psychiatric exam. http://www.ottawasun.com/News/National/2006/11/27/2515790-sun.html
(Note: The CIWS does not condone or encourage violence but we report incidents that may involve injured workers in order to expose the level of frustration and desperation many injured workers reportedly feel about the WCB system.)



Scathing Expose of Alberta WCB:
Nov 19th - A five-day series in the Edmonton Sun identifies illegal activities at the Alberta WCB. The CIWS applauds the Edmonton Sun and reporter Jeremy Loome for some excellent investigative journalism into illegal activities being perpetrated by the WCB in Alberta. It identifies numerous issues including withholding evidence from injured workers, financial bungling of workers' monthly payments; an internal bonus system that critics say artificially accelerates the pace with which claims are rejected; and callous treatment of the most vulnerable of injured workers.
Articles will be referenced from the "Related Articles" page or click thie link above.




News Conference - Ontario - OFL and ONIWG:
NOVEMBER 16, 2006
IT'S TIME TO ACT - INJURY SHOULD NOT MEAN PROVERTY
Injured Workers Demand New Legislation Now
Media Studio, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park, Toronto
Monday, November 20, 2006 - 11:30 a.m.
Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor

TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 16, 2006) - A joint news conference by the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) will outline the desperate situation of injured workers in Ontario. Injured workers are calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty to keep his election promise to "protect worker benefits from inflation".

In the lead up to the election Liberal Party MPPs came to large meetings of injured workers and said that cost-of-living would be restored if they won. The Liberals did win the 2003 election, it's now November 2006 and nothing has been done.

Nothing has been done. Injured workers are still living well below the poverty line - turning to the welfare system and food banks just to survive.

Injured workers are fed up with excuses. There is no legitimate excuse not to provide cost-of-living protection injured workers say, "Now is the time for legislative action to end the indignity and poverty of the present system."

Speaking at the news conference:

Andrea Horwath, NDP, Member of Provincial Parliament
Steve Mantis, Injured Worker, Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers Support Group
Peter Page, President, Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups
Wayne Samuelson, President, Ontario Federation of Labour

Injured workers in attendance will be available for interviews in the Media Studio.

For further information: Dana Boettger.OFL Communications (416)443.7665

Peter Page, President, ONIWG (289) 808.2871 (cell)

Karl CrevarTreasurer, ONIWG (905)517.0831/


CONTACT INFORMATION
Wayne Samuelson, OFL President
Primary Phone: 416-443-7678
Secondary Phone: 416-571-7409
Toll-Free: 800-668-9138


- new page - "ELECTION WATCH"

- new page - "HOW MANY INJURED WORKERS ARE AFFECTED?"

- The next meeting of the Canadian Injured Workers Society will be held on on:
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 12th 2006 at:
1:30pm NST (Newf/Lab)
1pm AST (Atlantic)
12pm EST (Ont/Quebec)
11am CST (Man/Ont)
11am CST (Sask)
10am MST (AB)
9am PST (BC)
At this meeting we will be holding elections for the new Board of Directors for the society. All members can attend online via the CIWS MEMBERS FORUM. Please log on early. Nominations for Directors are being accepted now via email and will be also be accepted at the meeting prior to voting. Please send us your nominations now for Directors. Specific positions will be voted on at the meeting and don't need to be outlined in your email. Email


Canada-wide Media Release November 9, 2006:
Workers compensation boards across Canada are increasing their advertising about safety this month. Some provinces are even using 'shock and awe' videos - bloody, gory videos about workers being injured. Yet on October 29th, the Conference of Canadian Compensation Unions representing approximately 10,000 compensation board employees who deliver services to injured workers, 'sounded the alarm' about the failure of the workers compensation system in Canada and called for a national campaign for the reform of legislation covering injured workers. http://www.nupge.ca/news_2006/n03no06a.htm
http://www.straightgoods.ca/ViewFeature6.cfm?REF=657

What is the relationship between these two stories?

The Canadian Injured Workers Society sees the 'shock and awe' videos and the increasing workplace safety ads put out by workers compensation boards as a knee-jerk response of workers compensation boards to increasing criticism of their failure to prevent workplace injury and to compensate injured workers.

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.
http://www.ciws.ca/news_workers_compensation_canada.htm

The CIWS believes that workers compensation boards have an inherent conflict of interest in regulating workplace safety. The organization that metes out compensation funds should not be the same one that is in charge of workplace safety. It is too easy to deny injured workers' claims to save money, then just ignore the hazard that caused the injury. When a workplace injury claim is denied by WCB, that workplace hazard goes uninvestigated.

The statistics suggest that hundreds of thousands of workplace hazards are going uninvestigated PER YEAR in Canada.
http://www.ciws.ca/ontario_wsib_1996_2005_stats.htm

The CIWS applauds the efforts of the Compensation Unions to expose the failures of the workers compensation system in Canada and agrees that fundamental reform is critical.

Jane Edgett,
President, CIWS
http://www.ciws.ca
Email:


Please email us if you have any related news that you think should be posted here. Email


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