Health and Safety
29th Injured Workers Day - June 1, 2012
May 23, 2012 Following an all-night vigil on May 31,
2012, injured workers, organizations, and unions will stand together at
Ontario’s legislature on Injured Workers Day—June 1, to remind the Ontario
government that in 1914 workers gave up their right to sue employers in exchange
for a system where workers were to receive compensation for injuries and
illnesses caused by work.
The workers compensation system envisioned by Chief Justice Sir
William Meredith almost a century ago was to be a no-fault system paid for by
employers to compensate workers who became injured or diseased from the
workplace. Employers would not face lawsuits nor lose their businesses, and in
exchange workers were to receive compensation related to their wages for as long
as their injury lasted, and the injured worker would not be a burden on their
relatives or the community at large.
Somehow our system of compensation has turned into an insurance
scheme catering to employers as clients, rather than to the injured workers who
are the ones maimed by work, forever changed, yet still without the right to
sue. Once again injured workers must fight the onslaught of rhetoric as we
defend what the compensation system was supposed to mean against commissioned
for consultant reports such as the recent KPMG report (WSIB Adjudication and
Claims Administration (ACA) Program Value for Money Audit Report) that aim to
slash injured workers’ rights even further.
Insulting is KPMG’s recommendation that the aging process ought
to be considered when awarding benefits—doesn’t KPMG know that Meredith
dispensed with that argument back in 1913 when it was raised by employers?
According to Meredith, employers should take the worker as he or she is at the
time of injury, and not excuse themselves from compensating that injury due to
speculating about worker health, earning power, and aging processes in future
The fact is that employers pay less for compensation than ever.
In 1996 employers paid 3.20 per $100 of payroll. Now they pay 2.26. Employers
are earning 2012 dollars and paying 1980’s prices for workers’ compensation
coverage. With the KPMG report recommendations making it harder for injuries and
re-occurrences to be recognized, blaming old age to deny benefits, and lowering
awards for pain and suffering, among other things, employers will be getting off
scot-free while injured workers are pushed away from the employer funded system
that Meredith created, to the taxpayer funded agencies such as CPP and social
assistance. The cost of workplace injuries, fatalities, and occupational disease
ought to be borne by employers—not taxpayers.
While the KPMG Report shows much concern about employers’ bottom
line, it is injured workers who need the attention and protection of the system,
the government, the WSIB, and the public. If injured workers are barred from
suing their employers for injury, they should not receive half measures.
On March 9, 2012, the WSIB’s released its 2012-2016 strategic
plan. In it, they commit to the Meredith principles. The problem is—their
recollection isn’t the same as ours. Join us as we go to Queen’s Park and remind
Ontario of those principles that formulated the origin and intention of the
workers compensation system set up in 1914—the system that was supposed to be
non-adversarial, paid for by employers, and that was to give workers the dignity
to not be a burden on their relatives and the community at large, where they
could raise their families and live their lives with dignity.
We will start this year’s events with an all-night vigil at Queen’s Park on May
31 at 4 pm at Queen’s Park in Toronto, (the afternoon before Injured Workers
Day) where injured workers will hold a vigil to highlight their call for
fairness. The vigil will continue throughout the evening, overnight, and into
the June 1, 2010 main event. Please join us at the vigil and join us as we
gather at 11:00 am at Queen’s Park or at any other event across Ontario.
here for the Toronto flyer.
The London event will be held Friday June 1, 2012 at the WSIB
Building in London (148 Fullarton Street) from 1130-2:00.
Click here for flyer
for London event.