When: Sunday June 1, 2014, 11:00 am
Where: in front of Queen's Park Legislature Building (walk north from Queen's Park subway stop at College/University)
Following an all-night vigil on May 31, 2012 (starting at 7 pm), injured workers, organizations, and unions will stand together at Ontario’s legislature to recognize Sunday June 1 2014 as the 31st Injured Workers Day. In 1983, over 3, 000 injured workers crowded onto the grounds of Queen's Park demanding to be heard, causing the Legislature to convene outside of the building for the first and only time. The issue at stake then was the pensions for permanent injuries.
This year on the eve of an election, injured workers and allies say now is the time to let all parties know that injured workers, their advocates and the community at large demand the fairness under a balanced system for workers and employers that the Meredith "historic compromise" is supposed to guarantee. Workers gave up their right to sue employers for injuries with the promise of fair compensation for injuries at work. Workers got compensation that allowed them to live in dignity and, as Chief Justice Sir William Meredith said, "without becoming a burden to their families and the community at large." The system also gave employers the security of knowing that they would not lose their businesses from workers' lawsuits seeking compensation for workplace injuries.
In today's system employers still enjoy those benefits but the workers do not. Workers claims are being denied on the basis of WSIB "proposed policies" (that are already being implemented) that blame injuries on the aging process. Also, claims are being denied using the excuse that a worker has a "pre-existing condition" even if that condition showed no symptoms, was invisible to the worker, and did not affect work at all. The draft policies also trash a long-standing common law principle, the "thin-skull rule" where employers should "take the workers as they are," that their vulnerability cannot be used against them if they get injured at work. Workers say that WSIB is trying to fix problems that do not exist. Workers demand an end to the destruction of our workers' compensation system caused by cost-saving measures – "not on the backs of injured workers!".
Doctors have written letters to declare their opposition to the new approaches at WSIB. A laywyer has filed a class action suit has also been filed by a lawyer alleging that WSIB is acting in bad faith and is committing misfeasance in office. OPSEU, along with other unions have written long and detailed submissions to the government arguing against this harmful approach. The message needs to be delivered, so come to Queen's Park and help to deliver it loud and clear.
(Sponsored by the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG). For more information please call IAVGO at (416)924-6477 or IWC at (416)461-2411.)