Doctors Allege Injured Workers are Re-Victimized by the Compensation System
(TORONTO, ON) ─ The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG) today released a damning report exposing interference on the part of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in the medical care of injured workers.
“This report confirms what injured worker advocates have been hearing for years – that the WSIB system is more interested in clearing its case load than supporting workers who have been seriously injured on the job,” said OFL Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Hutchison. “These doctors are blowing the whistle on the WSIB’s punitive practice of ‘deeming’ injured workers eligible to resume work when their treating physicians and medical professionals have clearly stated the opposite. The report we are releasing today tells the story of these doctors and their patients. We hope it will force a formal investigation into the WSIB’s treatment of medical advice and lead to systemic change.”
The report, called “Prescription Over-Ruled: Report on How Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Systematically Ignores the Advice of Medical Professionals,” was produced with the assistance of six registered psychologists who originally raised the alarm about the WSIB’s management of medical care and medical evidence as it relates to WSIB benefits recipients. However, since then, many other medical professionals and injured workers have come forward to share similar stories about the WSIB’s failure to heed medical advice regarding readiness to return to work, insufficient treatment, blaming ‘pre-existing’ conditions for ongoing illness, and using independent medical reviews which proclaim patients to be healed, despite the evidence of treating practitioners.
“Over the past 5 years, we have seen an alarming decline in WSIB services from difficult to impossible,” said Sudbury-based Rehabilitation Psychologist, Dr. Keith Klassen. “When I talk to other psychologists and health professionals they describe the same pattern. From what we see it seems that the WSIB has become a service whose prime objective is simply not to serve.”
“The red tape is tangling up legitimate claims and preventing injured workers from getting the coverage they need,” said Sudbury-based Rehabilitation Psychologist Dr. Giorgio Ilacqua. “Behind every claim is a real person, with a family that has been turned upside down by a workplace injury, they deserve immediate and consistent care, not bureaucracy and red tape.”
“The net effect is a WSIB system that re-victimizes the very injured workers it is mandated to compensate and protect,” said Hutchison.
To download the full report, visit: http://ofl.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015.11.05-Report-WSIB.pdf
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour