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Power Grab!
WCBs Want Even More Power:
Workers compensation boards were never intended to act like private insurance companies. Their mandate was never intended to be pure profit - they were created to compensate injured workers fairly and protect employers from costly lawsuits.

However, as members of American private insurance industry associations, Canadian provincial WCBs are increasingly acting like private insurance companies that have profit as their goal. The trend toward denying injured workers fair compensation in order to maximize investment revenues illustrates this change in attitude.

In their race to become more and more like private insurance companies, the workers compensation boards are lobbying for more and more power so that they will be free from outside scrutiny by government and the legal system.

Here are some of the ways that WCBs are lobbying for more power. The Saskatchewan examples below are indicative of the trend across Canada.

At the 2006 Review, the Saskatchewan WCB is lobbying to:

1.) take over all responsibility for workplace safety from government Occupational Health and Safety departments. (The CIWS believes that 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.)

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

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

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

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

6.) deny retroactive compensation for workplace deaths without review - WCB wants to 'close the book' on cases of workplace death from 1980 to 2002 so that surviving spouses have no recourse for review of the case. (The CIWS believes that 'fairness is fairness', no matter how old the claim is, and that surviving spouses should be able to have a claim reviewed.)

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

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