Justice for Injured Workers!
Celebrating Three Years of the
Workers' Comp Is a Right! Campaign
This September marks the three-year anniversary of the Ontario Network
of Injured Workers' Groups' (ONIWG) Workers' Comp Is a Right! campaign.
To mark the occasion, ONIWG organized an online celebration in which
more than 65 people participated.
this occasion, ONIWG put forward its demand, that with the announced
resignation of the current CEO of the Workplace Safety and Insurance
Board (WSIB), Thomas Teahen, injured workers must have a say in who
should replace him and what the CEO's job description should be. ONIWG
President Janet Paterson read out the job
description put together by injured workers in different areas of the
province and encouraged people to sign a petition calling on the
government to give injured workers a say in hiring the new CEO. The hiring committee for the new CEO must include those most affected by his actions -- Ontario
injured workers -- Paterson pointed out.
The online program included a slide show which captured some of the
important moments in the campaign that was launched at a public meeting
on September 11, 2017 followed the next day by a press conference at
Queen's Park as the Ontario Legislature opened for its fall session.
Over the past three years ONIWG and its allies have
organized rallies, pickets and outreach actions across the province,
spoken to more than 70 MPPs, produced issues of their newspaper, Justice for Injured Workers,
organized Justice for Injured Workers' Bike Rides and much more. In the
fall of 2018 alone they organized some 30 public meetings in different
Speaking about the campaign, Executive Vice President Willie Noiles
pointed out that ONIWG began developing the campaign almost a year
before it was launched and involved injured workers from across the
province in discussing the problems they were facing and the key
demands on which they wanted to mobilize. In March 2017,
ONIWG brought groups together from across the province and by the end
of the day, from months of discussion and an initial list of 15
demands, they had sorted out the main demands of the campaign. These
were: No cuts based on phantom jobs!; Listen to injured workers'
treating health care professionals!; Stop cutting benefits based on
campaign has been important in activating injured workers across the
province, with new groups being founded and important steps taken to
end injured workers' marginalization and make their concerns the
concerns of all working people in Ontario. Among other things, due to
the work done by injured workers through this campaign,
there is now a private member's bill before the legislature, Bill 119
introduced by the NDP, which would end the practice of deeming.
Patty Coates, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour, brought
greetings to the celebration and pointed out that changes to the
workers' compensation system are especially urgent under conditions of
the COVID-19 pandemic. She denounced the refusal of the provincial
government to implement the presumptive principle, meaning that
workers in health care and other high risk workplaces who contract
COVID-19 would be presumed to have been infected at work and be able to
quickly access WSIB benefits.
The program also included remarks by Dr. Giorgio Ilacqua, who has been
active in the demand that WSIB listen to injured workers' treating
physicians; Wayne Harris, an injured construction trades worker; and
Jessica Ponting, who spoke to the conditions faced by migrant workers
in Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers' Program when
they are injured on the job.
ONIWG also announced that it will be launching a speakers' series on
October 8 which will explain in more detail the demands of the Workers'
Comp Is a Right! campaign. The first online meeting will deal with the
WSIB's practice of deeming and the demand that it end.
1. To read and sign the petition, click here.
This article was published in
Number 62 - September 17, 2020
Justice for Injured Workers!: Celebrating Three Years of the Workers' Comp Is a Right! Campaign