Canadian Injured Workers Society

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  The CIWS continually updates its media mailing list and so far we have over 900 media outlets to send to. Every month, we send out correspondence to a wide range of media outlets urging them to take notice of injured workers issues. The following are only a few examples of letters we have sent out:

July 2006:

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

Minister Shelley,

As Minister responsible for the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC), it is your responsibility to ensure that the WHSCC obeys its policies and legislation. By allowing the WHSCC to stall compensation benefits to some of the Baie Verte asbestos mine workers who have contracted various forms of cancer, by further studying the cancers in question, would be contrary to the rules of workplace injury compensation.

According to the WHSCC Act, when a dispute arises between the WHSCC and an injured worker regarding the cause of the injury or disease, the benefit of the doubt should go to the injured worker. Section 61 of the Act states:

"Presumption 61.
Where the injury arose out of the employment, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, that it occurred in the course of the employment, and where the injury occurred in the course of the employment, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, that it arose out of the employment. "

Our experience with injured workers across Canada has shown that workers compensation boards are increasingly ignoring this 'presumptive status' and that they are using the tactics of 'further study' to justify denying injured workers their right to compensation under the legislation.

If the medical community has not proven the link between gastrointestinal cancer and asbestos mining, it is not the fiunction of the workers compensation system to deny the claim and study the medical issue further. It is the function of the workers compensation system to compensate the injured worker under the 'presumption' clause of the WHSCC Act.

By failing to enforce the WHSCC Act, Mr. Shelley, and by allowing the WHSCC to disobey the legislation, you are showcasing your disregard for the legislation as well as for your constituents. The excuse that many politicians have given for not intervening is that workers compensation systems are at "arms length" from their Ministry and that the Minister cannot get involved in workers compensation decisions. This only leaves workers compensation systems free to abuse their power without being accountable to anyone.

The Canadian Injured Workers Society is calling on you to please instruct the WHSCC to immediately obey the legislation regarding presumption and compensate all of the Baie Verte asbestos mine workers involved.

Thank you,
Jane Edgett,
President, Canadian Injured Workers Society
The Canadian Injured Workers Society is a non-profit organization committed to promoting fair and equitable compensation for injured workers across Canada. For more information please contact: [email protected] or visit the society's website at

June 2006:

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

For Immediate Release

Ontario – We are pleased to announce the official incorporation of the Canadian Injured Workers Society. The CIWS has members from east to west committed to lobbying for change to the Workers Compensation system in Canada. The CIWS mission statement is - "To promote fair and equitable compensation for injured workers in Canada, to address the mistreatment of injured workers and to voice the common concerns of injured workers across Canada."

The workers compensation system was started in the early 1900s before there were any safety nets such as Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, the Health Care system and Welfare. It started in Ontario and other provinces gradually followed Ontario's lead. Mr. Justice William Ralph Meredith defined workers' compensation as we now know it. One of the principles is known as the ‘historic compromise'- in exchange for a fair and speedy wage loss compensation system, workers give up their right to sue employers for workplace injuries and, in exchange for the protection from costly lawsuit and legal fees, employers agree to fund the system.

The current provincial systems are flawed for long term injured workers who are not getting the coverage guaranteed them by legislation. The average taxpayer pays more for health care, and other income support programs as compensation cuts off claimants and sends them through lengthy appeals processes often lasting years. If this fails, injured workers are left without further recourse due to the ‘historic compromise'.

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

"Workers compensation boards have failed to do the job they were mandated to do." said Jane Edgett, President of the CIWS. "There is injustice across the system. Workers with long-term injuries are denied access to the financial compensation and medical treatment that is owed to them under our current system. The various compensation boards across Canada routinely deny claims to cut back on their costs. These workers are injured providing goods and services to Canadians. They are injured while contributing to our economy. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and they deserve the financial compensation legislation is supposed to guarantee."

The Canadian Injured Workers Society is a non-profit organization committed to promoting fair and equitable compensation for injured workers across Canada. For more information or to become a member please contact: [email protected] or phone 506-432-9115 or fax 506-433-1355. The society's web site is

For media information contact Michael Farrance 705-696-3756. Media information is also available on our web site.

April 2006:

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers injured or killed on the job. The CIWS put out a Letter to the Editor to all newspapers in Canada as well as a longer article to several newspapers and online outlets: (anyone wanting to become involved with the media relations aspect of the CIWS is encouraged to join and email us at [email protected] )
On April 28th, as we mourn for those killed on the job, we must also remember those whose workplace related deaths were slow and agonizing. Most Canadians do not realize that if they are seriously injured at work, their compensation is not ensured. Many seriously injured employees are simply refused compensation and their subsequent physical, financial and emotional suffering can be overwhelming.

When the workers compensation system refuses to pay for long term injuries, they do more harm to the employee and their family by thrusting them into a cycle of poverty and despair that can lead to death. Some injured employees have even committed suicide.

But the long term suffering of injured workers is no longer the primary concern of the workers compensation system which has strayed from its original purpose over the last century. It has increasingly downloaded its responsibilities onto the worker's family and other social programs.

The Canadian Injured Workers Society is questioning the functionality of the workers compensation system as it exists today in Canada. As we mourn workplace deaths, the CIWS is calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into wrongdoing by workers compensation boards across Canada. Please visit for more information. (Also see )

Jane Edgett, President, Canadian Injured Workers Society

April 28th, National Memorial Day

Let us all take a moment to mourn for the families who suffered the indignities of poverty because their loved one went to work one day and didn't come home. For their children who were denied the opportunities of higher education, the hopes and dreams they had before their world was turned upside down.

Let us also take a moment and mourn the loss of the workers who were injured on the job and were denied their basic right of compensation, and after years of being denied, the injured worker committed the most desperate act of suicide, to escape the torment.

We should mourn the loss of natural justice that once existed for working men and women, before our workers compensation systems became profit making crown corporations for the provinces and the employers.

How has Our Canada become so cold-hearted, blindly ignorant, and negligent of the very people who once took pride in their accomplishments by doing simple things like going to work, raising a family, loving their communities?

Workers compensation (WC) propaganda has done a remarkable job of making you believe you will be taken care of. That is their job, mandated by the provinces and your current Premier and Minister of Labour (MOL). The truth of course is never known, until you become one of us, and by then it is too late. You have no Rights, they have been stripped by Acts written to close any loophole you might think exist.

Our job as Workers and Injured Workers is to fight for the living. WCB Acts and Health and Safety Acts are amended on a constant basis in order to make us believe that injuries and deaths on the job are being reduced. The statistics do not bear this out.

Who protects the rights of the grievously injured human being? No one. It does not matter which institution you appeal to, your province's human rights body, your fair practices commission, your democratically elected MLA, they will all return you to the offender, the WC.

Let us mourn the loss of our countrys innocence. When dignity & honour, just compensation systems, moral fibre, hard-won rights, and integrity were something to be proud of. The Crown, called WC, mandated by our provinces, Premiers and MOL's have so much to be ashamed of. Shame is now a by-product of doing business, easily shirked off like a cape. The body and soul of Canada has been shamed by the very people we are supposed to trust.

There will be many articles and letters written by Injured Workers groups, full of statistics, and grossly unjust acts perpetuated against IW's by our provinces, I would urge you to read them to get a clear picture of how your rights have been so easily taken away from you, and almost impossible to get back. These men and women who work tirelessly for fairness and justice deserve our thanks and ongoing support.

Mourn for the dead, mourn for the living and mourn for your country. Then rise up and take heart from whatever source you can, to educate yourself, to contribute in a way that takes back our rights. Without them, we are just another heartless, souless corporation called Canada. IW's should not be acceptable collateral damage, it is morally unethical. It is time for those who are our elected change-agents to stand up, come forward, speak out and demand reform.

D. M. Boyle, Canadian Injured Workers Society,

Email: [email protected]
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