By Greg Snider, with thanks to John Rae and Jules Tupker for editing
The problem with Workers Compensation in Ontario is summed up in its name. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). It mentions neither the worker nor the compensation that the organization (WSIB) is to administer should she/he be injured or become ill while at work.
The Platform for Change puts forward the simple, if not obvious, suggestion that providing Compensation to Injured Workers should be the goal of any Workers Compensation Program. Any person who has suffered an injury to body or mind, no matter how serious or minor, will be more vulnerable than normal. The Administration and staff of any Compensation Program must recognize this simple fact and respond appropriately.
The Platform for change suggests returning to the old motto “Justice, humanely and speedily delivered”.
Justice is the process of determining if a worker is entitled to Compensation and then giving her/him that Compensation. It is not a strict set of rules that make no allowance for the unscripted world we live in.
Humanely delivered is a system that understands the worker has and is paying with her/his body and/or mind. Kindness, listening and support can go a long way to helping recovery, while distrust and assumptions can form barriers to recovery.
Speedy Delivery will, it is well known, decrease stress which improves and speeds recovery time, which is beneficial to everyone.
Workers Compensation exists because we as a society believe that a person injured in the workplace should be compensated. Making the worker and his/her loss the center of that program only makes sense.