Weekly News

HAVE YOU BEEN HURT AT WORK?

Have you been involved with the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB; Workers’ Compensation)?

Your experiences could help us improve services for Thunder Bay and District injured and ill workers involved in the WISB claims process.

Participants will receive compensation for their time.

To enroll or for more information, please contact:

Email: wcstudy.psych@lakeheadu.ca  Phone: (807) 343-8563


CBC N.L. · Posted: Nov 22, 2020:

“A bureaucratic system forgot I was the human being on the other side. I want change”

 


Re: Rental Arrears due to COVID19

If you are aware of any tenant that is in arrears due to the negative effects of COVID-19, the TBDSSAB has secured funding to assist people in paying rental arrears.  The TBDSSAB is asking you to partner with us in order to reach as many people as possible. 

We are asking you to assist your clients (OW, ODSP and Non Social Assistance Recipients) in filling out the attached application form and submit with required verification (listed in the form), along with a letter of support with your recommendations on why the financial need exists.

This fund is subject to income limits and the accommodations must be deemed sustainable by TBDSSAB staff. Note that this fund is not subject to appeal and all decisions are final.   

Application packages can be sent to Samantha Vance (via fax at 345-7921 or by email Samantha.Vance@tbbdssab.ca)

They can also be dropped off or mailed to the TBDSSAB Office at 231 S. May Street Thunder Bay, ON P7E 1B5 or at any TBDSSAB Satellite Office or any of the TBDSSAB Satellite Offices.   


NOVEMBER 16, 2020 PRESS RELEASE

Subject: Canadian Pain Task Force releases its second report / Le Groupe de travail canadien sur la doulear publie son deuxième rapport

The Canadian Pain Task Force is pleased to announce the release of its second report – Working Together to Better Understand, Prevent, and Manage Chronic Pain: What We Heard”.

[Version en francais]

Over the last year, we conducted an extensive series of in-person, written, and online consultations about the gaps and challenges, best and promising practices, and elements of an improved approach to preventing and managing chronic pain. Our deepest appreciation and gratitude go to all who shared their thoughts and ideas during our consultations.

The report reflects the evidence, ideas, experiences, and practices that we heard from the nearly two-thousand people who participated across Canada. The Task Force hopes that by coming together, we can forge a path forward to better prevent and manage chronic pain in Canada.

Throughout the next and final phase of our mandate, we will continue to increase awareness of chronic pain and to build relationships and networks for change across the country. This work includes collaborating with key stakeholders, such as people who live with pain, decision-makers in federal, provincial and territorial governments, health professionals, researchers, Veterans, and Indigenous Peoples, to disseminate information related to best practices for the prevention and management of chronic pain and to move ideas into action.

We look forward to continued collaboration. 

Sincerely,

Maria Hudspith and Fiona Campbell, Co-Chairs
On behalf of the Canadian Pain Task Force

 


November 25, 2020

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lakeheadu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYld-mrpzspGNyuU6bE832G2LPR_KEL_hNH

You are invited to the DWC2020 Virtual Conference that will be held over four days, November 25 & 26 and December 1 & 2, from 12:30-3:30 EDT. The theme for this year’s conference is the “Strategy in Action—Pathways and Impacts”, with subthemes for each day as follows:

·       Wednesday November 25, 2020 – The Big Picture–Challenges and Opportunities
·       Thursday November 26, 2020 – Progress in the Workplace
·       Tuesday December 1, 2020 – Strengthening Supports for Workers
·       Wednesday December 2, 2020 – Moving Forward Together

As we all know, 2020 has been a very tough year, creating new challenges for the employment of persons with disabilities.  The DWC conference is focused on how to meet those challenges and continue to make progress on implementation of the Pan-Canadian Strategy for Disability and Work. 

We will be sending the preliminary agenda, as well as information on conference accessibility, soon.

To register, click here (DWC2020 registration website  https://reg.unityeventsolutions.com/se/DWCVC2020/ATT/EN/process.aspx?ut_SGU=1FF52E0D-4BCD-4778-9669-32A3D3E6AD1D&ut_CST=BC1A08EA-6700-4D55-872A-68FA297E36B0).  The deadline for the early bird rate is November 10th.

Pour vous inscrire, veuillez cliquer ici (site d’inscription de la Conférence sur PHTC 2020 https://reg.unityeventsolutions.com/se/DWCVC2020/ATT/EN/process.aspx?ut_SGU=1FF52E0D-4BCD-4778-9669-32A3D3E6AD1D&ut_CST=BC1A08EA-6700-4D55-872A-68FA297E36B0), malheureusement en anglais seulement). Nous offrons une réduction des frais à ceux qui s’inscrivent avant le 10 novembre.

 Subsidies are available for injured workers
and people with disabilities.  


Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups‘ new speakers series

The series has been launched to celebrate the three year anniversary of ONIWG’s historic “Workers’ Comp Is A Right“. It will will focus on a different workers’ comp issue every month, and will feature presentations from injured workers, allies, advocates, and experts. 

In case you missed the October 8 event, here is a fun video that came out of this first session.

Have you signed the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups’ petition to demand that injured workers are involved in the hiring process for WSIB’s next president? We need your help. Sign and share at: change.org/WSIBPresident.


New support for our Tuesday morning legal education and support group!

The Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers Support Group (TB&DIWSG) is pleased to announce their partnership with the United Steelworkers Family and Community Education Fund (FCEF) in coordination with Northwestern Ontario Steelworkers Area Council with the sponsorship of our weekly legal education and support group sessions online until December 1st


Articles to Check Out

Take advantage of every opportunity to speak truth to power.   Tap Tap    Oh look Opportunity’s knocking https://injuredworkersonline.org/how-to-reduce-poverty


Message from the Ontario Disability Support Program

Dear Employment Supports Service Providers and Community Partners,

We are hoping everyone is doing ok as we work through these difficult times.

It is during these times when we realize the importance of our community partnerships and relationships.  Knowing that we are often in contact with common clients, we wanted to share some of our service delivery measures with you.

Effective immediately and until further notice, we have implemented the following:

– there is no need for clients to worry about submitting their income reports at this time (unless they submit electronically)

– Special Diet Allowances, already in pay, will continue, even if set to expire – clients are not to worry about getting their signed forms in for now (unless they submit electronically)

– as well, we will not require forms and verification for Mandatory Special Necessities as we will issue these benefits and obtain what is needed later on (unless they submit electronically)

While our offices remain open, we are attempting to avoid having clients attend our offices, as much as possible, for everyone’s well-being.

We are hopeful that informing our clients of these measures will be helpful in achieving that objective, and would appreciate your efforts in sharing our message whenever that opportunity presents itself.

We will continue to keep you as informed as possible, as we go along.  Should you have any questions about our current service delivery measures, please contact us.

Job-related deaths in Canada dramatically under-reported, study suggests

Authors estimate true number of workplace deaths 10 times greater than official figures

Last week at the joint Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups’ (ONIWG) Workers Compensation Conference Steven Bittle presented on research done by himself, Ashley Chen and Jasmine Hebert regarding Work Related Injuries in Canada. Clearly the information we are using has been flawed. Rather then make a poor attempted of explaining his findings I have inserted an article by Jacques Marcoux and Katie Nicholson which was published by CBC News.

Jacques MarcouxKatie Nicholson · CBC News · Posted: Jan 11, 2019 6:00 AM ET | Last Updated: January 12

According to a recent study, the number of workplace fatalities being reported in Canada is dramatically underestimated and could as much as 10 times higher than is generally captured by occupational health and safety statistics. (CBC)

Close to 1,000 Canadians die each year because of their jobs, according to official numbers from Canada’s workers’ compensation agencies. But a new study says that figure is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true extent of work-related deaths across the country.

The study — titled Work-related deaths in Canada — argues the widely quoted statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Board of Canada (AWCBC) should not solely be used as a benchmark for work-related fatalities, as these figures only take into account approved compensation claims.

As a result, thousands of deaths — such as workers exempt from coverage, stress-induced suicides, commuting fatalities and occupational disease — are missing from occupational health and safety statistics, it says.

“This situation is akin to crime statistics only ever including solved homicides, therein leaving the impression that attempted murders, unsolved murders or suspicious deaths are not a concern,” the study’s authors wrote.

Steve Bittle, an associate criminology professor at the University of Ottawa, spearheaded the research.(CBC)

Our notion of what constitutes a workplace fatality is too narrow and it is a mistake to count work-related fatalities through our compensation regimes, says Steven Bittle, an associate criminology professor at the University of Ottawa who spearheaded the research, which was published in November.

Last year, workers’ compensation boards across the country approved a total of 904 claims involving fatalities. About one-third of those cases involved acute accidents, with the rest due to longer-term illnesses from occupational exposure.

Bittle’s team estimates that a more accurate figure hovers between 10,000 to 13,000 deaths annually.

Non-reporting and under-reported fatalities

Depending on the province, between 70 and 98 per cent of the workforce is covered by a public workers’ compensation system. But that means there are well more than two million workers in Canada whose deaths would escape official statistics.

Excluded occupations could include the self-employed, domestic helpers, banking employees and farmers, among others.

The latest AWCBC figures show that in Ontario, 24 per cent of the approximate 7.1 million working Ontarians are not covered by a the public workers’ compensation regime.

Bittle’s paper also cites a 2015 study from the University of British Columbia that found an average of six fatalities per year that were not on WorkSafeBC’s radar. Many of these cases involved deaths that occurred in hospital, days after the workplace event.

The authors further estimate about 64 farming deaths escape official statistics each year.

The study estimates about about 64 farming deaths aren’t reflected in annual occupational health and safety statistics. (CBC)​

Morag Marjerison, a farm-safety consultant based in Brandon, Man., agrees that the dearth of data is problematic. In Manitoba, farm owners and their family members are exempt from mandatory coverage.

“I think it’s really a problem in that we don’t ever see the true picture. Whenever I’m looking at training, trying to educate

, we’re always showing what look like low statistics, when we know that’s not the reality of what’s happening,” she said.

“I think if everyone that works in safety saw the reality of how frequently the same things happen over again and again, attention could be paid to the bigger issues.”

Commuters and bystanders

One of the more contentious elements of Bittle’s study, he admits, is the idea that deaths while commuting to and from work are worth including in workplace-fatality statistics. He estimates there are about 460 commuting deaths a year — and the goal of their inclusion is to start a conversation about some broader issues.

“We live in a culture of presenteeism, where people are expected to be at work — at least culturally expected to be at work, if not through pressures in their workforce — regardless of whether they’re ill or whether the weather conditions are such that they shouldn’t be driving at that particular time,” he said.

The 2013 death of an Alberta intern who was killed while driving home after a 16-hour shift at a local radio station highlighted the potentially dangerous relationship between commuting and workload.

The study also suggests that non-workers who die collaterally could be included, such as a spouse who dies after repeatedly being exposed to asbestos from years of washing their partner’s clothes, or a pedestrian crushed in a scaffolding collapse while walking near a job site.

Suicides: ‘Extreme stresses’

In 2017, a Saskatchewan man employed by a small rural municipality took his own life after struggling with mental-health issues found to have been exacerbated by his work. The province’s WCB partly attributed the death to his employer.

Situations like these are rarely covered, and the study suggests the number of suicide-related claims is drastically underestimated.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada published a study last year that found Canadian employees reported workplace stress as the primary cause of their mental-health concerns.

Bittle believes between 10 and 17 per cent of annual suicides in Canada could be classified as work-related, representing a range of 400 to 800 fatalities each year.

Mara Grunau, executive director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention, agrees that while the links between work and mental health exist, proving it caused a person to take their life is difficult.

“In our culture, we spend hours and hours at work. And the way we feel about work, and the way we interact with the people at work, affects who we are,” she said. “If work is a miserable place to be, it affects other aspects of our life.”

Why Injured Workers Should Join the Fight Against Doug Ford – Part 1

The Thunder Bay and District Injured Worker Support Group have been actively working with other organizations to express our displeasure with the current government.  Why are we raising our flag and banner at so many protests?  Why are we joining protests that do not directly affect Injured Workers?  Why is it so important that you join us?

Over the next few days, using the OFL Ford Tracker, I will print a list of the actions the Ford Government has done that will affect Injured workers.  Few of these items are directly aimed at Injured Workers and yet they are likely to negatively impact Injured Workers.  That said, this is a government that can be forced to back down.  Just today they announced that they would not, as previously suggested, privatize the WSIB.  This tells us that fighting back works!

Please checkout the list below and the one to come.  I suspect the information on these lists will make you both mad and scared so do something with that emotion and join us on a protest line.  Let’s fight back!

Cancelled all of the programs that were funded by the $2.9 billion in revenues amassed through the cap-and-trade program – including school and social housing repairs as well as rebates for green energy retrofits.

This concerns Injured Workers because:  Even though this is about the environment (very important in itself), it will have a direct effect on IWs who are living in Social Housing (and there are far too many).  Many communities spend far less money on maintaining these buildings than is required.  These cuts will delay or even cancel repairs or upgrades to apartments—upgrades that would have made life better for many IWs.   

Restricted access to free prescription drugs for Ontarians 24 and under, who currently do not have access to such benefits (i.e., a step backwards from universal pharma care)

This concerns Injured Workers because:  Although employers should be paying these costs through WSIB, we know that many IWs are not receiving these benefits.  Although this would only affect young IWs, now it will help not one IW. 

Eliminate key equity ministries, such as the Ministries Responsible for the Anti-Racism Directorate, for Poverty Reduction Strategy, for Early Years and Child Care, for the Status of Women as well as the Ministries of Citizenship and Immigration, and of Research, Innovation, and Science.

This concerns Injured Workers because: With so many IWs living in poverty a Poverty Reduction Strategy is a much needed benefit.

For some IWs, Child Care could be essential for their return to the workforce.  How does the WSIB deem that a worker must accept work at minimum wage when there is no affordable daycare?  Women, people of color, Indigenous and other minority groups often face extra barriers when trying to re-enter the workforce. (Members of these groups have long been working to eliminate or minimize those extra barriers.)

Cut a planned 3% increase to social assistance in half and scrapped the Basic Income Pilot Program.

This concerns Injured Workers because:  As we all know, a large number of IWs either have a long delay before receiving their benefits or don’t acquire benefits at all and are therefore dependent on social assistance.

The Basic Income Pilot Program could have changed the way Social Assistance is done, to the benefit of people living in poverty in Ontario and, since this was a multi-university study, the resulting report might have changed the way social assistance is done around the world.

Cut the Liberals’ promised $2.1 billion over four years for new mental health funding with $1.9 billion over 10 years (i.e., $190 million per year instead of $525 million)

This concerns Injured Workers because:  This money was promised by the previous government because Ontario citizens, and in fact Canadians, were starting to come to terms with the reality of Mental Illnesses, their frequency, causes, and effects, and the stigma associated with them.

We have studies that show if an IW has more then one injury from the workplace, almost invariably, one of them will be a Mental Health Disorder.  We are just starting to understand Mental Health and have much to learn.  These cuts will severely curtail this necessary research, resulting in delays that will undoubtedly cause hardship for many.

Intended to invoke the Notwithstanding clause and overrode the Human Rights Code to slash the number of Toronto City Council seats.

This concerns Injured Workers because: Although on the face of it, this would only affect Toronto, Doug Ford stated several times that he would not hesitate to use the Not Withstanding Clause in the Canadian Bill of Rights and Freedoms.  This means that an Injured Worker-driven complaint that goes to the Supreme Court and is upheld, could be disregarded by the Province of Ontario.  The Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group (TBDIWSG) has had standing in two Supreme Court Hearings, both of which were successful victories for Injured Workers.  If this had happened in Ontario and under Doug Ford’s Government, it is hard to see him not implementing the Notwithstanding clause and allowing the WSIB to continue their unjust practices.

Introduced Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act (e.g., scrapped the $15 minimum wage, paid sick days, equal pay for equal work, access to workplace information)

This concerns Injured Workers because:  This does far more than decrease the minimum wage. It repeals many advancements made by the Liberals.  Many employees will lose paid sick time.  The ability to obtain workplace information will also be limited. 

This legislation is determined to limit Unions.  It is well documented that unionized workplaces have a lower rate of injury than non-unionized worksites. Without Unions the TBDIWSG would not have the funds needed to operate, nor would most other Injured Worker driven organizations.  Over the years they have shared both their money, space, training and even staff with Injured Worker Groups across Ontario.  We need our friends strong.

Froze proactive workplace inspections.

This concerns Injured Workers because:  There are too many Injured Workers already in Ontario.  How many would there be without Proactive Workplace Inspections and the work orders their inspectors provide to employers?   The Government needs proactive Inspections to be increased and with more enforcement, not have them cancelled.

Passed Bill 57, Restoring Trust, Transparency, and Accountability Act (e.g., delayed the pay Transparency Act; removed independent officers of the House; cancelled a small increase in taxes for high-income earners; rolled back rent control for existing units.) [LV1] 

This concerns Injured Workers because: Rolling back rent control in some areas with low vacancy rates can cause a real problem for people on fixed incomes, like IWs.  A survey done in Toronto by Street Health found that 57 percent of homeless people were injured at work. 

Setting aside the fact that a tax increase to high income earners is being cancelled when so many people of low or middle income are being asked to sacrifice so much, the issue for Injured Workers is the combination of the Ontario Government’s determination to 1) Cut the deficit hard and fast and 2) protect the wealthy from any of it’s effects.  

Are the Conservatives just cutting programs they never supported and using the deficit to convince Ontarians of the need to implement these unpopular actions?

Introduced regressive social assistance reforms (e.g., limiting access for persons with Disabilities)

( Seriously, I go from cutting taxes to the wealthiest Canadians to cutting People with Disabilities off ODSP.  I think I need a break after this one. )

This concerns Injured Workers because:  It is strongly rumored that the government plans to change Ontario Disability Support Program qualifications, to limit the people that qualify. If the Government brings the qualifications in line with those of the Canadian Pension Plan thousands of people could find themselves no longer eligible for ODSP benefits.  It is important to note that these programs have very different goals, reflected in the fact that one is a federal government responsibility and the other is of provincial jurisdiction. 

Well folks that’s the first six months in office (and the author needs a break).  Keep your eyes out for part 2.  I am hoping to have it out in a few days. 

In the meantime, please come out and support us as we fight back against the Doug Ford Government. This government is going to cut programs and cost to everything until they get push back. ( Example: Assistance to Children with Autism, funding for Municipality,) I will try to keep an updated list of protest posted on this site.

The Complete OFL Ford Tracker can be seen at http://ofl.ca/power-of-many-ford-tracker-pc-cuts-and-privatization-to-date/


#WorkersCompIsARight is a campaign of the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups

TORONTO, April 18, 2019  — The Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) is raising the alarm bells over the 30 percent cut to Legal Aid Ontario contained in last week’s provincial budget.

Legal clinics, one of the key services that receive their funding from Legal Aid Ontario, are under serious threat from the cuts. Clinics not only provide legal services to ONIWG as an organization, they also provide representation to individual injured workers across the province in their appeals to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and its Tribunal. Increasingly, clinics also represent injured workers before the Social Benefits Tribunal, as many people are forced to apply for Ontario Works or Ontario Disability after their WSIB claim is denied or their benefits cut. A 30 percent cut to LAO’s budget will ultimately affect the ability of clinics to deliver these services. Legal Aid also funds services related to immigration and refugee law, housing and eviction, and many cultural and linguistic communities that are disproportionately affected by work injury.

“Many legal clinics are already operating at bare bones to begin with,” said ONIWG President Willy Noiles, who served as Chair of the Niagara North Community Legal Clinic in St. Catharines before his election as ONIWG head. “Previous administrations have already made cuts to clinic funding, creating staff shortages and bare-bones administration. In order to reduce costs any further, as clinics will be told to, clinic lawyers and community workers will have to be cut.”

Without a doubt, for those citizens denied legal aid services, it costs the provincial government more in the end. “That’s why we’re hoping Attorney General Caroline Mulroney and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli will take a sober second look at this particular cut,” Noiles stated.

“Whether it’s the elimination of immigration and refugee law services that will leave people under threat of deportation, or cuts to other legal aid services that will cause people to fall into homelessness, anything of this magnitude will be devastating to some of the most vulnerable people in Ontario. We need to come together and stop this from happening,” Noiles added.

Willy Noiles

ONIWG President

________________________________________

#WorkersCompIsARight

#CoverOurCare

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Disability Policy: From Remedies to Rights – Review by Injured Workers Online.

The attached Document was distributed  and completed by Maytree.  Maytree is committed to advancing systemic solutions to poverty and strengthening civic communities. I will start with a review by Injured Workers On Line on this post and put the actual report on a separate post. 

 

Challenges in Disability Policy 

Persons with disabilities face many challenges in accessing public programs for financial aid or disability supports – or from being trapped in them once eligible. In a recent report  Disability Policy: From Remedies to Rights (Dec. 2018), Sherri Torjman lays out the bureaucratic Catch-22 : Continue reading