The Boar of the Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers Support Group would like to invite you and your family to join us at a number of upcoming events, including our Annual General Meeting on Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the Lakehead Labour Centre. Please note that we have now received confirmation that the Lakehead Labour Centre has been sold and we have to vacate our office there by November 30, 2015. Discussions are underway regarding new office space but these have not been confirmed yet. We will announce our new address on our office phone at 807 622 8897 and http://www.thunderbayinjuredworkers.com when it is confirmed.
The challenges that injured workers are facing today have never been seen before. For more than 30 years, injured worker groups and advocates have fought for fairness for injured workers but the compensation system as we know it no longer exists.
One of the main founding principles laid out over 100 years ago by Chief Justice William Meredith stated that workers would face a compensation system that was no fault, resulting in no delays, non-adversarial, no harassment and an impartial, independent public board. Payment was to occur for as long as the disability lasts, based on the concept of lost wages
Despite promises by president I David Marshall, WSIB that none of the cutbacks were going to fall on the backs of injured workers, injured workers across Ontario are fighting for fair treatment as a result of workplace injuries and treatment by the board. The current system is allowed to disregard medical information and they decide when you are able to return to work regardless of medical opinion. They are using surveillance as a means of terminating benefits. Despite government promises, we are still fighting for full Cost of Living. The Ombudsman office staff have met with the Chair of the WSIAT, representatives of the Ministry of Labour and other officials to remind them of the human impact of delays in the appeals process and to remind them that a solution must be found.
Groups of legal volunteer professionals have formed and are looking at a number of scenarios that could result in a legal challenge.
- Fiduciary duty looks at whether the WSIB has a special responsibility to provide fair compensation for injured workers because the historic compromise has taken away their right to sue.
- Has the WSIB abandoned its legal mandate towards injured workers in favor of cutting expenses to the extent that the WSIB is not applying governing legislation?
- Do the practices of the WSIB discriminate against injured workers contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code?
- Are WSIB practices consistent with the basic human rights standards under international law?
ONIWG has established a Legal Defense Fund to raise monies to help cover costs associated with this process. Donations towards this Fund can be forwarded through our group.
WHY DO WE KEEP DOING WHAT WE ARE DOING? is it important to us that our group keeps going? Despite our injuries, we want our lives to be the best they can be. The focus of our group is to:
- Provide information and support to injured workers;
- Provide analysis of legislation and make recommendations for improvements and reform;
- Educate each other and the general public; and
- Lobby government and the WCB/WSIB to establish Justice for Injured and Disabled Workers.
There are a number of ways that you can become involved with our group, depending on your interests and your time. We invite you to come to our AGM as well as any of our regular activities. We will also be holding elections for board members at our AGM. Your injury is part of your life AND knowledge can help you manage it your way.