Workers (Injured) Week in Review (May 28)

Companied fined / Worker Killed

May 15th – the Ministry of Labour reported that Blue River Masonry Ltd. was fined $80,000.00 and Roswell Construction Inc. was fined 90,000.00 for violations related to the death of an employee.  The employee fell while going from one scaffolding to another under wet conditions. There was no latter provided and access to the scaffoldings was done by climbing the metal supports of the North scaffolding.  To read more please click on the link.

http://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2015/05/toronto-builder-masonry-company-both-fined-in-death-of-worker.html

Worker Killed in Markham

May 21st – One man was killed and another had to be rushed to hospital in serious condition when an industrial lift on a construction site flipped on its side.

Young Worker Killed

May 23rd – Alexie Dallaire-Vincent, a Tram Operator at the SAS St. Andrew Goldfields Holt Mine, died of injuries she suffered after being hit by a Ore Haulage Car.  Alexie was only 22 years old.  We hope her death reminds all of us how much more vulnerable young workers are and that we all have a responsivity to keep them safe.  If you wish to read more here is a link.   http://www.timminspress.com/2015/05/25/tragic-milestone  or http://www.northernlife.ca/news/localNews/2015/05/25-holt-mine-death-sudbury.aspx

Kill a Worker go to Jail

May 25th – The OFL reports, they have been assured by Staff Sergeant D. S. Waley, that the OPP will reviewing a 2013 investigation in to a workers death in Kearney, Ontario. GRC Contracting was Fined $90,000.00 for violation to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  The employee died from trauma caused by a 40 foot fall and although she was wearing a harnass it was not attached to a fall arrest system.  GRC had been warned about this problems three days earlier.

To read the OFL site report click here http://ofl.ca/index.php/holtminefatality/

For the Ministries Report on the fine

http://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2015/05/grc-contracting1381694-ontario-inc-fined-90000-in-death-of-worker.html

Ride on

May 25th – Peter Page and Richard Hudon began their bike-a-thon from Ottawa to Toronto and the June 1st Injured Workers Conference in Toronto.  To read more click on the link. http://injuredworkersonline.org/events/

Fighter for Justice on TV

This week – Long-time Injured Worker activist Steve Mantis will have Injured Worker Lawyer Marion Endercott on his Shaw television show “Community Conversations”.  This can be seen on channel 8 at numerous times each day.  This is well worth checking out.

Stat of the Month

– Between 2006 and 2012, 48 young workers aged 15 to 24 died in work-related incidents, according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board statistics.

Important Dates

May 28th – Thunder Bay and District Labour Council meeting

June 1st – Injured Workers Day

June 1st – Injured Workers Conference begins in Toronto

Ministry of Labour Announces Employer Fine

You may recall a news story on December 17th, 2013.  It was hard to forget the video of a military rescue team using a helicopter to rescue crane operator, Adam Jasrtzebski, from the end of the crane’s boon while one of Kingston’s worse ever fires burned below. Mr. Jasrtzebski spent several months in hospital recovering from his burns.

In August, 2014 the Ministry of Labour laid 22 Charges against Jay Patry Enterprises, Stelmach Property Management, Jay Patry, Nathan Patry and Troy Stelmach.  Half of those charges were for failure to co-operate with the MOL investigator.

On May 19, 2015 Jay Patry Enterprises pleaded guilty to not carrying out proper safety procedures and was fined $75,000.00.

The Jay Patry Enterprise owners Jay Patry and Nathan Patry, plus Joseph Stelmach of Stelmach Property Management Inc. all pleaded guilty to not providing information to the MOL inspectors.  Mr. Aram Malek, owner of the Crane Company, was convicted on two charges. One charge was for failing to provide information or providing false information to the MOL inspectors and one was for inhibiting MOL Inspectors access to do their investigation.

The MOL statement alluded to the fact that the fire inspector was not able to determine the cause of the fire.  One has to wonder if this was because of the failure of the two major businesses involved in not co-operating with the MOL.   Did the companies get a smaller fine because of this?  The police, rightly, make an issue of the failure of people in our communities to co-operate with their investigations.  Should these companies not be held to the same moral scrutiny?

To see the Ministry’s information please click the link below

http://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2015/05/company-and-employers-fined-after-kingston-fire-that-endangered-workers-injured-crane-operator.html

Workers (Injured) Week Which Was May 20

(Sorry for this abbreviated version of W(I)WWW but one of my short paragraphs turned in to its own story.  So stay tuned for that)

New Bill Introduced in House

On May 7th, Jennifer French, an NDP MPP from Oshawa, introduced Bill 98 – Protecting People of Occupational Disease Act (2015).  In a short statement after introducing the bill, Jennifer explained that the bill is fixing a legislative loophole that is preventing workers from obtaining the compensation they are entitled to.  You can view the Bill by clicking here. http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=3335&detailPage=bills_detail_the_bill

Workers Compensation: Ontario vs. Quebec

On Thursday, May 14th the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group held a life feed of discussion comparing workers Compensation in Ontario to workers compensation in Quebec.  Every her attended found this very informative.  The Injured Workers Online site has done an excellent article regarding this information.  Please check it out http://injuredworkersonline.org/a-tale-of-two-provinces/

TBDIWSG President Attends Retirees Meeting

Also on Thursday, May 14th TBDIWSG President, Greg Snider, was invited to talk at a meeting of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Retirees from Northwestern Ontario.  Greg  shared with the OPSEU members the many activities that the TBDIWSG and the Ontario Network of Injure d Worker Support Groups, including the Platform for Change and Legal Defence Fund.

Speakers School Graduation

On Tuesday, May 19,  The New Direction Speakers School held Graduation for four Graduating students.  Each graduate did a three minute speech followed by feedback from one of the three judges.  Injured Worker, Brain Walker, congratulated the students for their accomplishments on behalf of the Alumni.   The ceremony was held at City Hall and Mayor Keith Hobbs participated in handing out the ceritificates.  The next class should start in the fall.

Upcoming Events

 Thursday, May 21st

Marion Endicott, a Lawyer with Injured Workers Consultants Community Law Office talks Workers Compensation in Ontario

A Public Meeting for Injured Workers, their supports and family, but all are invited.

7:00 pm at the Lakehead Labour Centre

Saturday, May 23

Spring Time 2 Fundraising Concert

A Fundraiser for the New Directions Speakers School.  It puts the word Fun back in Fundraiser.

7:00 pm at the Finlandia Club, 314 Bay Street, upstairs

Thursday, May 28

Thunder Bay and District Labour Council

at the Lakehead Labour Centre starting time 7:30 pm

Workers (Injured) Week Which Was

Talking to Young Workers

Steve Mantis, ONIWG and TBDIWSG Board member and Greg Snider, President of TBDIWSG, were invited to talk about workplace health and Safety to Kristine Hilden’s Grade 10 class.  The class watched a short film titled “Cover me WSIB”, shared experience they have had with workplace injuries, Talked about a person’s rights in the workplace  and finished by acting out role plays designed to help the students with the difficult conversations they may need to have at work.

Articles published this week

Emergency Service personal want Bill 2 passed and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome recognized.  Click below for more information.

http://injuredworkersonline.org/its-time-to-act-on-mental-health

A petition has been started in Alberta to lobby the new NDP government to have their WCB accept assessments from doctors who are not employed by WCB and to stop Alberta’s WCB from deducting CPP-D from Injured Workers cheques.  Link to both survey and a related article are below.

https://www.change.org/p/legislative-assembly-of-alberta-pass-legislation-for-wcb-that-will-allow-assessments-from-doctors-who-are-not-employed-by-the-wcb-and-introduce-legislation-that-will-change-current-aish-policies-that-consider-cpp-d-as-non-exemptible-pension?utm_source=guides&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_created

Winsor Star Article – Injured worker barred from posting comments about WSIB manager.  To see article click below.

http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/dont-say-my-name-injured-worker-barred-from-posting-comments-about-wsib-manager

Injured workers calling for public inquiry into WorkSafeNB.  Maybe this is the way to go here?  To read more click on link below

http://www.ohscanada.com/health-safety/injured-workers-calling-for-public-inquiry-into-worksafenb/1002165274/

FACT OF THE WEEK

In 2013 78 employers were rebated 15,000,000.00 by WSIB in the same year a worker was killed or maimed while working for the same employer.

Information is from the Ontario Federations 2014 Report “Rewarding Offenders”.  In order to compile this information the OFL had to use data it could only obtain from WSIB through the Freedom of Information Act.  Why is WSIB hiding information from Injured Workers and those that which to support them?

COMING EVENTS

Thursday, May 14th

Bancroft Institute for Studies on Workers Compensation and Workplace Injury – Policy and Research Discussion Series #4

How Characteristics’ of Workers Compensation Systems affect Doctors?  Comparing Quebec to Ontario.

10:00am to 12:30 pm at the Lakehead Labour Centre

Tuesday, March 19th

New Directions Speakers School Graduation

The New Direction Speakers School was started by the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group to help Injured Workers to tell their stories and advocate for change.  Although the school has grown in both participation and scope the TBDIWSG continue to be active partners. Please come out and hear some wonderful speeches about real life.

5:30 pm meal 6:30 speaches, at Thunder Bay City Hall, 500 Donald St. E.

Thursday, May 21st

Marion Endicott, a Lawyer with Injured Workers Consultants Community Law Office talks Workers Compensation in Ontario

A Public Meeting for Injured Workers, their supports and family, but all are invited.

7:00 pm at the Lakehead Labour Centre

Saturday, May 23rd,

Spring Time 2 Fundraising Concert

A Fundraiser for the New Directions Speakers School.  It puts the word Fun back in Fundraiser.

7:00 pm at the Finlandia Club, 314 Bay Street, upstairs

Ontario Network of Injured Workrer Groups (ONIWG) – Taking it to the court

Legal Challenges Outline

The ONIWG Legal Defense Fund (LDF) was set up to enable ONIWG to bring a legal challenge to actions of the WSIB that are driving injured workers onto social assistance and into poverty, creating physical and psychological harm on top of the workplace injury.

ONIWG has a history of participation in legal challenges at the highest level. The most memorable example is the intervention in the Supreme Court of Canada case on chronic pain (Martin and Laseur). A team of legal experts from the community legal clinics presented the legal case without charge. Donations from the labour movement and the public brought dozens of injured workers to the Ottawa courtroom to hear the case argued.

We won. The Supreme Court of Canada condemned the attempt by the Nova Scotia WCB to limit compensation for people who develop chronic pain from a workplace injury.

ONIWG will continue to fight for the legal rights of injured workers. There are several teams of legal volunteers looking into possible legal challenges. The LDF is not supporting any particular legal case at this time.

There is a group looking at the issue of fiduciary duty. Does the WSIB have a special responsibility to provide fair compensation for injured workers because the historic compromise has taken away their right to sue? This area of law is often applied in cases involving federal government institutions and aboriginal people that lost their land in exchange for a reserve.

Another team is looking at institutional bias. Has the WSIB abandoned its legal mandate towards injured workers? Do the actions of the WSIB indicate a bias in favour of cutting expenses to the extent that it is not applying the governing legislation?

A third group is looking at our provincial human rights laws.  Do the practices of the WSIB discriminate against injured workers contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code? Yes they do. This group has just had a major victory when the Ontario Human Rights Commission intervened and the WSIB withdrew its notorious document “Red Flags … potential indicators of wrong doing/fraud in a claim.” The list included things like psychological problems, language barriers and pre-existing medical problems.

A fourth group is looking at whether WSIB practices are consistent with the basic human rights standards under international law. The group is looking at whether the human rights that Canada has agreed to provide to all of its people under international law are being respected by Ontario’s workers’ compensation system.

Legal challenges take a long time to develop and even with volunteer lawyers the other costs are high. To meet this challenge, ONIWG has begun to raise funds through a crowdfunding campaign. http://justice4injuredworkers.causevox.com/ We need your help.

WORKER’S (Injured) WEEK WHICH WAS

April 23rd – MONUMENT TO MOVE ???

At the monthly Thunder Bay and District Labour Council meeting it was announced that the Lakehead Labour Centre had been sold and notice had been given to the Labour Council that they were subject to one month notification to vacate the premises.  This would include the removal of the Injured Workers Monument.  The stature was purchased by the Thunder Bay and District Labour Council and at that time money was set aside for the purpose of moving the monument. The Labour Council is currently developing a list of possible sites for moving the monument.

April 28th

 DAY OF MOURNING FOR WORKERS KILLED AND INJURED IN THE WORKPLACE

The Day of Mourning Ceremony at the Lakehead Labour Centre was a great success   there was over 200 people in attendance.  The event was dedicated to Constable Joe Prevett, James Marchinko and Robert Nelson.  The attendees listened to several speakers including Diana Parker, Ontario Nurses Association and Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, before going outside the Labour Council to lay a rose at the Injured Workers Monument.

Syd Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour had a commentary published in the Toronto Star.  This article can be read at http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/04/27/seeking-justice-for-fallen-workers.htmt

TAKING IT TO THE COURT 

The Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups is running a campaign to raise money for the “Justice for Injured Worker’s Legal Defense Fund”.  This is very important work that is being done for all workers. PLEASE check it out at http://justice4injuredworkers.causevox.com/

 FACT OF THE WEEK

 In his April 28th statement the Ministry of Labour Prevention Officer tried to draw the public’s attention to the high number of Traumatic Fatalities in Ontario.  The problem is that in stating “Over the past ten years, the number of workplace fatalities has not declined in an appreciable way.” He has seriously misrepresented the facts.

FACT  The number of workplace fatalites has increase by 36% over the past 4 to 5 years (source – WSIB stats).

We assume he meant to say that “Over the past ten years, the number of workplace fatalities has increase at a rate unfathomable in any Industrialized State.”

 Upcoming Events

Tuesday, May 5th

Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group – Board meeting –

6:30pm – March of Dimes

Thursday, May 14th

Bancroft Institute for Studies on Workers Compensation and Workplace Injury – Policy and Research Discussion Series #4.

How Characteristics’ of Workers Compensation Systems affect Doctors?  Comparing Quebec to Ontario.

10:00am to 12:30 pm at the Lakehead Labour Centre