Justice for Injured Workers
Adequate Compensation for
All Injured Workers Is a Right!
Injured Workers Must Have a Say in All Matters of Concern to Them!
The Labour Day issue of Justice for Injured Workers, the newspaper of Ontario injured workers, has been released. For years, the newspaper has firmly defended the right of injured workers to adequate compensation that would allow them to live in dignity. It has provided a space for injured workers and their allies to have their say and report on their work to build their organizations, fight for what belongs to them by right and end their marginalization.
The Labour Day issue continues this important work. It focuses on the campaign Workers’ Comp Is a Right! spearheaded by the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG). The campaign has been in full swing since 2018 and continues with increased urgency as the Ontario government and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) have stepped up their anti-human wrecking of the compensation regime. The WSIB is denying and cutting the benefits of injured workers under all manner of fraudulent pretexts, thereby forcing them into increased poverty.
The latest attack is the Ford government’s decision, in its April 11 budget, to cut Legal Aid Ontario’s funding by 35 per cent. The decision deprives Ontario’s most vulnerable of legal assistance including injured workers, people facing unfair eviction, refugees, and so many others. These cuts directly illustrate the inhumane anti-social direction of the “Ontario Open for Business” approach imposed on the people by the Ford government and the global private interests it represents. Ontario workers organized some 40 actions province-wide on July 30 to demand the decision be reversed.
Injured workers front and centre at rally against cuts to legal aid July 11, 2019, at the new Attorney General’s Barrie constituency office, demanding the cuts be reversed.
The Labour Day issue of Justice for Injured Workers is dedicated to the members of ONIWG, their allies, and the many workers who have been injured or fallen ill on the job, their families, and others dealing with work-related deaths. The paper contains useful information about the struggle of injured workers, the situation they face and how, in unity with others, they can organize to take firm stands in defence of their rights.
Many questions and concerns are addressed in this issue, which features:
– greetings from the newly elected ONIWG executive;
– a number of articles dealing with the fight to end the Ontario government and WSIB practice of deeming, in other words, cutting injured workers’ benefits based on jobs that they do not have;
– the fight to reverse the cuts imposed by the Ford government on legal aid clinics in Ontario;
– the struggle of allies advocating compensation for workers suffering from occupational disease and their families;
– the organizational strengthening of the ONIWG; and
– a call for a People’s Review of the Workers’ Compensation System.
Importantly, the paper gives pride of place to the voices of injured workers, their organizations and allies speaking in their own voice about their concerns and struggles.
Newly elected ONIWG President Janet Paterson has an article entitled, “Your Voice Is Important! Together We Are Strong.” She speaks of the achievements made thus far and the challenges facing ONIWG in the coming period. Amongst other things, Janet stresses the importance of strengthening the relationship between the ONIWG board and the injured workers’ groups through the establishment of regional vice-presidents and the revitalization of existing committees. She discusses the importance of initiatives to meet ONIWG funding needs, such as providing regional vice-presidents with funds to support them in their outreach to injured workers’ groups in their respective regions. She assesses the impacts of the cuts to Legal Aid clinics on injured workers and all marginalized persons and demands that the cuts be rescinded. She concludes her article by affirming that together injured workers are strong, their voice is important and together as an organized force, injured workers are part of the movement for change necessary to guarantee their rights and the rights of all. In this spirit of unity in action, she calls upon all to involve themselves in the work of ONIWG.
The Labour Day issue of Justice for Injured Workers is a precious contribution to having the voice of workers heard at a time when the country is heading into a general election. Renewal Update calls upon all its readers to order copies of Justice for Injured Workers, to help finance the paper and assist in widely distributing the paper not only in Ontario but throughout the country, as injured workers face similar problems and struggles wherever they live in Canada.