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Tuesday, 01 November 2016 21:29

Letting employers off the hook costs injured workers

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            "It's outrageous that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is reducing employer premiums at a time when they've been cutting benefits (to injured workers) at an unprecedented rate," says Eugene Lefrancois, President of the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG).

            ONIWG estimates the reduced premiums will leave an additional $250 million in the pockets of employers.

            "Without any change in laws, the WSIB is dismantling the

compensation system for generations to come and ruining so many lives in the process," said Lefrancois.

            The WSIB recently announced they will further reduce the premium rates to employers. It is these rates that fund the system, and there is growing public concern that WSIB's aggressive cost cutting measures are causing serious harm to workers injured on the job. For example:

• Over 140 doctors, nurses, legal clinics, immigrant rights groups, labour organizations and community members signed an open letter calling for immediate changes at WSIB;

• Physicians are speaking out publicly on the impact of WSIB's policies on their patients;

• Psychologists and injured workers are calling for the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate how the WSIB systematically ignores the opinions of the health-care providers about the workers they have treated;

• The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal experienced what it called an "Appeals Tsunami" in 2012

• In 2015, the tribunal announced it was dealing with a "massive overflow" of appeals of WSIB decisions; and

• The Ombudsman has seen a spike in the number of complaints it receives about WSIB.

            "It hurts to know that instead of helping injured workers when we desperately need it, the WSIB is giving over $250 million to the very corporations whose unsafe workplaces made us sick," says Catherine Fenech, ONIWG’s secretary.

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