TORONTO — Dalton McGuinty’s appointment of Tory MPP
Elizabeth Witmer to head the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
is nothing more than a calculated political decision that results in
a slap in the face for injured workers in Ontario.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says that the
transparency of McGuinty’s appointment to gain a Liberal majority
will come at a huge expense to workers who depend on the WSIB.
“When she was Labour Minister in the mid-90s, Witmer
made changes to the WSIB that hurt workers and benefitted
employers,” Thomas said. “She privatized vocational assistance,
reduced benefits and put measures in place that forced injured
workers to return to the workplace before they had recovered.”
Thomas says this move is a clear indication that
McGuinty’s Liberals are continuing a shift to the political right
that belies everything that the party once stood for.
“The Liberals opposed the changes to the WSIB under
the Harris Conservatives, and 15 years later appoint the architect
of those same changes to head the WSIB,” Thomas said. “It’s clear to
me that this is nothing more than a political power play to gain
their majority, and they have thrown their ideals, beliefs and their
morals in the trash. It’s sad to watch, and I fear it will be
injured workers who will pay the ultimate price for gamesmanship at