Chronicle Journal Prints Response to Injured Worker`s Article

The Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal printed the following letter.

Board too stingy with injury benefits

Monday, February 23, 2015

I applaud Steve Mantis for his article on the injured workers support group’s Platform For Change (Guest Column, Feb. 19). I have seen too many of my co-workers from all trades fall into addiction to Percocets and Oxycontin when denied benefits.

The compensation board is known as the non-compensation board as it has denied benefits to thousands of injured workers. Unless you are carried off to the hospital on a stretcher you are going to face an uphill climb to access benefits.

There was one retraining exercise that put back injury workers into the small motors program or social worker program so that you have a 40-to-50-year-old worker competing for jobs with young apprentice mechanics or 20-something graduates.

The toll on injured workers and their families is debilitating and disrespectful. The board appears to spend more money denying benefits than paying benefits.

Edwin Kivisto

Thunder Bay

Well said Edwin. 

What TBDIWSG President, Greg Snider, said at Feb. 19th News Conference

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.

Cruel cuts at WSIB; Platform for Change would refocus system

This article appeared in the Chronicle Journal on February 19, 2015

GUEST COLUMN

By Steve Mantis

Thunder Bay

The Ontario Workers’ Compensation System is 100 years old this year. It is the original public program in our social safety net.

While we celebrate that the system has provided income support to millions of disabled workers over many years, it is now showing signs of strain.

Like all the other industrialized Continue reading

Nancy Huchinson, Sec/Tres OFL to join TBDIWSG at News Conferance and Public Meeting

The Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group are having a News Conference on February 19th at 2:00 pm at the Lakehead Labour Centre.  After 30 years of study and Debate we will release are “Platform for Change”and invite interested parties to join with us and Nancy Hutchison, Secretary-Treasurer, Ontario Federation of Labour. We hope that this will bring about many questions and a healthy discussion.

This will be followed at 7:00 pm on the same day at the same location by a Public Meeting.  Where we hope a healthy discussion will continue with the added input of those who were not able to make the News Conference.  We are excited to have Nancy attending both events.

Please Join Us And Make This a Watermark Day for Injured Workers

Repetitive Strain Injury Day Activity

We are happy to forward the following message from Trevor Schell of the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW):
Workplace injuries such as repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s) account for 42% of all lost time claims and 50% of all lost time days. To increase awareness on these issues, the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) is pleased to offer the 16th annual RSIPLUS Awareness Day on Thursday March 26, 2015 at no fee. The deadline for registration is March 20, 2015. Click here for more information including the brochure, agenda, and the registration form.
 
With the aid of the eDome at Cambrian College, now anyone can access this year’s RSI Day event regardless of their geographiclocation. All that is required is a high speed internet connection and sound. Attendees using this method will be able to ask questions to any of the presenters. It is asked that all interested parties in the Sudbury area attend the event in person. The day before the event, website address, handouts, and login password will be sent to all participants not located in Sudbury. For more information, you can contact Trevor Schell or the Clinic at 705.523.2330 or 1.877.817.0336.  Once registered, more information will follow including dates to test your internal firewall to ensure the event runs smoothly.
 
OHCOW apologizes for the fact that the event is being held a month later than normal due to scheduling issues.
_______________________________________________________
Trevor Schell BSc MSc CCPE
Ergonomist
Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc.
84 Cedar Street, Second Floor
Sudbury, ON P3E 1A5
Tel: (705) 523-2330
Fax: (705) 523-2606
TollFree : 1-877-817-0336 x2431

Stress Management Workshop

If you are stressed out by Workers Compensation, WSIB or by live in general then please join us for

Stress Management Workshops

Wednesdays  700pm

At the March of Dimes

237 Camelot Street

Starting February 18th

The workshops are being offered free and everyone is welcome. Please contact Pierre D Beaupre at pdbeaupre@gmail.com or 807-251-5219 to register or for more information.

The Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers support group would like to thank Pierre for donating his time and extensive knowledge.  We would also like to thank the March of Dimes for once again providing us with space.

Labour Minister meets with Injured Workers Organization

ONIWG (Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups) met with the Minister of Labour in January and discussed several topics.  Those topics included Experience Rating, Extended Health Benefits, 72 month lock-in, Indexation/COLA, Deeming, Coverage and the reappointment of I. Greg Marshall.

The minister expressed mixed amounts of support for the issues that were brought forward but agreed to review many of those issues. He made it clear that he saw this appointment as long term and wanted to continue his dialogue with the Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups.

In fact a second meeting has been arranged between the ONIWG and the Premier’s Office.

A more detailed review of the meeting follows for those interested.

A Meeting With the MInister Continue reading