by Greg Snider Edited by Lise Vaugeois
As we say good by to another Christmas season and head in to the heart of our long winter, lets take a moment to look back at the year gone by.
On April 28th the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group (TBDIWSG) continued to work with the Thunder Bay and District Labour Council in co-hosting the April 28th Day of Mourning Observance. For the second year in a row the event was held at the Finlandia Club. Correctional Officer Mike Lundy was this year’s guest speaker. He spoke about living with workplace stress and how that can seriously affect one’s life. He talked about how prominent PTSD is among jail guards and first responders. This year we honored four Hydro One workers who died in a helicopter crash and the six workers who were on the Humboldt Bronco’s bus crash. This important event continues to grow the recognition of those who have been killed or injured in the workplace.
On June 1st, Injured Workers Day, TBDIWSG Held their second flag raising ceremony. The event was held at Thunder Bay City Hall. This year we focused on the Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups’ (ONIWSG) three-pronged campaign to have WSIB listen to workers’ Doctors, end the practice of deeming for phantom jobs, and denying benefits for pre-existing conditions. Attendance at the event more than doubled from the previous year.
The TBDIWSG also had members attend the Kakabeka Falls Rural Outreach Clinic, the National Disability Strategy Conference and the Thunder Bay Labour Day Picnic.
The highlight of the year for the TBDIWSG the successfully planning and hosting the weekend long Injured Workers Outreach Form. This event was free to anyone who wanted to attend and provided education, peer support and even legal advice to Injured workers, their families and allies. It was wonderful to hear all the positive comments from those attending the event. Many thanks to all the volunteers that made the weekend possible. A further thanks to the unions and individuals whose donations made this event free of any cost to the TBDIWSG. Am I hearing talk of this happening again?
After reading this you would think we had a good year; however, with the election of a new Conservative Provincial Government came another Conservative 30% cut to WSIB contributions for businesses. This is on top of the cuts in contribution already introduced under the Liberal Government. Much of these cuts, if not all, will be paid by denial of benefits to Injured Workers. Doug Ford’s 30% cut to contributions, are as much “for the people”, as Mike Harris’ 30% cut in contributions, two decades earlier, were “common sense”. If the Premier thinks this will take the fight out of us, he is sadly mistaken, for this will put the fight in us. Bring on 2019. We’re ready!