This article was published in Thunder Bay News Watch http://www.tbnewswatch.com
Greg Snider says it’s time both the province and Workplace Safety Insurance Board stop nickel-and-diming Ontarian’s hurt on the job.
Snider, president of the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group, on Monday afternoon demanded a public inquiry to find ways to fix the system.
“Right now, workers compensation is about saving money for the employers. It’s a lousy insurance program instead of being a quality workers compensation program,” Snider said, leading a march of about a dozen or so supporters through the Bay and Algoma district to the constituency office of Liberal MPP Michael Gravelle.
According to Snider, too many workers with legitimate claims are being turned away, WSIB ignoring recommendations of qualified doctors to keep costs down.
They’re even ignoring second opinions that rule in favour of the claimant, Snider said.
“They’re still not satisfied,” Snider said, adding both the government and WSIB will do anything in their power to keep workers from collecting what’s rightfully theirs.
“That’s the reality,” he said.
Snider went on to say the Thunder Bay Worker Advisor’s office has been turning away potential claimants because of how behind they are processing claims – a two-year backlog, he said. It leads legitimate claimants to give up in frustration before receiving benefits to which they’re entitled.
He also said the system rewards employers with the fewest claims and punishes those with the most.
Gravelle joined the protestors outside his office and told them he would pass their concerns on to Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, asking for more specific details in writing.
Gravelle said he’s been a long-time supporter of injured worker rights, noting his government has taken steps to stop employers from pressuring workers to not file claims when hurt on the job, increasing fines from $100,000 to $500,000.
He added Bill 144 will entrench in legislation a cost-of-living increase for injured worker benefits, beginning on Jan. 1, 2018. Bill 109 makes provisions for survivor benefits.
“I view those as pieces of protests, certainly,” Gravelle said, acknowledging there are other issues and noting injured workers have not always been pleased with WSIB leadership.