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Wrong with Workers Compensation?
Injured Workers' Stories
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
As Minister responsible for the Workplace Health, Safety and
Compensation Commission (WHSCC), it is your responsibility to ensure that the
WHSCC obeys its policies and legislation. By allowing the WHSCC to stall
compensation benefits to some of the Baie Verte asbestos mine workers who have
contracted various forms of cancer, by further studying the cancers in
question, would be contrary to the rules of workplace injury
According to the WHSCC Act, when a dispute arises between
the WHSCC and an injured worker regarding the cause of the injury or disease,
the benefit of the doubt should go to the injured worker. Section 61 of the Act
Where the injury arose out of the
employment, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, that it
occurred in the course of the employment, and where the injury occurred in the
course of the employment, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown,
that it arose out of the employment. "
Our experience with injured
workers across Canada has shown that workers compensation boards are
increasingly ignoring this 'presumptive status' and that they are using the
tactics of 'further study' to justify denying injured workers their right to
compensation under the legislation.
If the medical community has not
proven the link between gastrointestinal cancer and asbestos mining, it is not
the fiunction of the workers compensation system to deny the claim and study
the medical issue further. It is the function of the workers compensation
system to compensate the injured worker under the 'presumption' clause of the
By failing to enforce the WHSCC Act, Mr. Shelley, and by
allowing the WHSCC to disobey the legislation, you are showcasing your
disregard for the legislation as well as for your constituents. The excuse that
many politicians have given for not intervening is that workers compensation
systems are at "arms length" from their Ministry and that the Minister cannot
get involved in workers compensation decisions. This only leaves workers
compensation systems free to abuse their power without being accountable to
The Canadian Injured Workers Society is calling on you to
please instruct the WHSCC to immediately obey the legislation regarding
presumption and compensate all of the Baie Verte asbestos mine workers
President, Canadian Injured
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 http://www.ciws.ca
June 2006: In June we sent out a generic media
|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."
workers compensation system was started in the early 1900s before there were
any safety nets such as Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, the Health
Care system and Welfare. It started in Ontario and other provinces gradually
followed Ontario's lead. Mr. Justice William Ralph Meredith defined workers'
compensation as we now know it. One of the principles is known as the
historic compromise'- in exchange for a fair and speedy wage loss
compensation system, workers give up their right to sue employers for workplace
injuries and, in exchange for the protection from costly lawsuit and legal
fees, employers agree to fund the system.
The current provincial
systems are flawed for long term injured workers who are not getting the
coverage guaranteed them by legislation. The average taxpayer pays more for
health care, and other income support programs as compensation cuts off
claimants and sends them through lengthy appeals processes often lasting years.
If this fails, injured workers are left without further recourse due to the
There is money in the workers'
compensation system and it is up to the government to make sure it goes to
"Workers compensation boards have failed to do the
job they were mandated to do." said Jane Edgett, President of the CIWS. "There
is injustice across the system. Workers with long-term injuries are denied
access to the financial compensation and medical treatment that is owed to them
under our current system. The various compensation boards across Canada
routinely deny claims to cut back on their costs. These workers are injured
providing goods and services to Canadians. They are injured while contributing
to our economy. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and they
deserve the financial compensation legislation is supposed to guarantee."
The Canadian Injured Workers Society is a non-profit organization
committed to promoting fair and equitable compensation for injured workers
across Canada. For more information or to become a member please contact:
[email protected] or phone 506-432-9115 or fax 506-433-1355. The society's web site
For media information contact Michael Farrance
705-696-3756. Media information is also available on our web site.
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.
the long term suffering of injured workers is no longer the primary concern of
the workers compensation system which has strayed from its original purpose
over the last century. It has increasingly downloaded its responsibilities onto
the worker's family and other social programs.
The Canadian Injured
Workers Society is questioning the functionality of the workers compensation
system as it exists today in Canada. As we mourn workplace deaths, the CIWS is
calling for a federal public judicial inquiry into wrongdoing by workers
compensation boards across Canada. Please visit http://www.ciws.ca for more information. (Also
see http://www.wcbcanada.com )
Jane Edgett, President,
Canadian Injured Workers Society
|April 28th, National Memorial Day
Let us all
take a moment to mourn for the families who suffered the indignities of poverty
because their loved one went to work one day and didn't come home. For their
children who were denied the opportunities of higher education, the hopes and
dreams they had before their world was turned upside down.
Let us also
take a moment and mourn the loss of the workers who were injured on the job and
were denied their basic right of compensation, and after years of being denied,
the injured worker committed the most desperate act of suicide, to escape the
We should mourn the loss of natural justice that once existed
for working men and women, before our workers compensation systems became
profit making crown corporations for the provinces and the employers.
How has Our Canada become so cold-hearted, blindly ignorant, and negligent of
the very people who once took pride in their accomplishments by doing simple
things like going to work, raising a family, loving their communities?
Workers compensation (WC) propaganda has done a remarkable job of making you
believe you will be taken care of. That is their job, mandated by the provinces
and your current Premier and Minister of Labour (MOL). The truth of course is
never known, until you become one of us, and by then it is too late. You have
no Rights, they have been stripped by Acts written to close any loophole you
might think exist.
Our job as Workers and Injured Workers is to fight
for the living. WCB Acts and Health and Safety Acts are amended on a constant
basis in order to make us believe that injuries and deaths on the job are being
reduced. The statistics do not bear this out.
Who protects the rights
of the grievously injured human being? No one. It does not matter which
institution you appeal to, your province's human rights body, your fair
practices commission, your democratically elected MLA, they will all return you
to the offender, the WC.
Let us mourn the loss of our countrys
innocence. When dignity & honour, just compensation systems, moral fibre,
hard-won rights, and integrity were something to be proud of. The Crown, called
WC, mandated by our provinces, Premiers and MOL's have so much to be ashamed
of. Shame is now a by-product of doing business, easily shirked off like a
cape. The body and soul of Canada has been shamed by the very people we are
supposed to trust.
There will be many articles and letters written by
Injured Workers groups, full of statistics, and grossly unjust acts perpetuated
against IW's by our provinces, I would urge you to read them to get a clear
picture of how your rights have been so easily taken away from you, and almost
impossible to get back. These men and women who work tirelessly for fairness
and justice deserve our thanks and ongoing support.
Mourn for the
dead, mourn for the living and mourn for your country. Then rise up and take
heart from whatever source you can, to educate yourself, to contribute in a way
that takes back our rights. Without them, we are just another heartless,
souless corporation called Canada. IW's should not be acceptable collateral
damage, it is morally unethical. It is time for those who are our elected
change-agents to stand up, come forward, speak out and demand reform.
D. M. Boyle, Canadian Injured Workers Society, http://www.ciws.ca