This is not the precise speech but an earlier draft but it reflects clearly the nature of his comments. The final draft has been lost for all time.
Hi my name is Greg Snider and I am the president of the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group, with me today is Steve Mantis treasurer of the TBDIWSG and an activist for Injured Workers for more than 30 years which included a stint on the Workers Compensation Board of Directors. Also with me is Nancy Hutchison Secretary Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
The Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group has been in existence since 1984. We have over that time provided assistance to Injured Workers and their families through peer support, education, research and lobbying for change to both legislation and policy.
We are here to release a revised version of the Platform for Change. This document clearly shows how a Rehabilitation System for Injured Workers should work in this province. The TBDIWSG are releasing this revised document in the hope of refocusing the debate on workers Compensation back to the person injured while at work.
This Document has been years in the making having originally been completed in 2004. The Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group have held countless meeting reviewing, researching and revising every aspect of Workers Compensation/Rehabilitation to come up with this comprehensive Document.
We did this work because it had become obvious that any discussion regarding Injured Workers had moved away from the need for Worker Rehabilitation and to one of workplace Insurance. Recently the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Support Groups meet with Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn. A review of the minutes shows a conversation where the Minister listened to what the ONIWG members had to say but the only clear view of a future WSIB occurred when the minister promised no increase to employer premiums.
This is insurance, providing coverage based on what premiums are paid. The less you pay the lower your coverage.
The Platform for Change doesn’t talk about Insurance but about Workers receiving compensation. Compensation for lost income due to workplace injury, compensation for pain and suffering due to workplace injury, Compensation for increased medical costs due to workplace injury, Compensation for lost employability due to workplace injury and Compensation for other losses to a worker due to a workplace injury.
Compensation is a balance. When you compensate somebody for their losses then those losses determine what the compensation should be.
Currently Injured workers are being under compensated or not compensated for their loss. This is happening because consecutive Governments have consulted with employers about premium rates but have to date only listened – reluctantly – to those who have paid for their injuries with their bodies and/or minds.
Both our local MPPs Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro have promised to arrange a meeting between the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group Board and the Minister Kevin Flynn. Although this meeting is important to us, it is equally important that the Minister and his Government understand that the only Worker Rehabilitation System that will work is one centered on the needs of Injured Workers and not centered on employer needs.
I think of the price paid by the Injured Worker who has to turn down his grandchild request to be picked up because of a workplace injury or
The price paid by the spouse who has to leave for work because it’s the only income the family has while she wonders if the one she loves will be able to get out of bed today or
The price paid by the parent when the child they should be caring for has to be caring for them or
The price paid by an Emergency Service Worker who struggled with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder until it was all too much and he committed suicide.
I can go on and on.
It is a lot harder to talk about what happens to people who receive permanent disabilities at work then it is to talk about the premiums paid by employers. But it is where the conversation needs to be and when it is there it is clear the real cost of WSIB is being paid by the Injured Worker.