Four members of the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group met with Minister Flynn this past June. At one point during the meeting TBIWSG treasurer Steve Mantis reference the Platform for Change. Minister Flynn was very quick to say how impressed he was with the document and the information it contained. TBDIWSG Trustee, Eugene Lefrancois was quick to suggest that the Minister implement the Platform for Change. Then everyone laughed.
I wanted to start with the above story just in case some of you think I have an inflated view of what Consultation can do, I don’t. Most Government’s will consult with anybody who wants to talk with them. No Government does it on an equal basis. For decades corporations in Ontario have been able to use their financial resources to empower their consultation with consecutive Governments.
The Platform for Change recommendations set a table that encourages consultation with Injured Workers and their representatives in an effort to offset the financial power that employers will continue to hold. The Platform for Change recommendations encourages consultation in several ways on several issues. An annual review by a legislative Committee and a more complete review every four years will allow Injured workers and their representatives to present their recommendations on a more level (but still not level) basis with employers.
These forms of Consultation although effective, cannot address urgent issues and rely on the regular collection of information. In order to deal with issues that can’t wait for a review, WSIB must be open to feedback at all times at all levels. More importantly WSIB must reach out to hear the message of Injured Workers and those groups that represent them. Their ability to be heard is not equal to that of employers. Their concerns must be positively received and reflected in all reviews.