Every June 1, labour activists and injured workers mobilize in a show of solidarity on the lawn of Queen’s Park to send a clear message to the government: “Worker’s compensation is a right!”
In 2019, with the government’s reckless decision to slash 13.5 per cent, or $16 million, from the budget of the Ministry of Labour’s Prevention Office, this message needs to be hammered home again – loud and clear.
The cutbacks to the Prevention Office will have an immediate and disastrous effect on research projects, such as the study on the causes of occupational diseases, as well as on dedicated independent health and safety associations throughout the province. This is not just bad for worker safety; it’s bad for everyone in Ontario.
It’s time to remind the elected leaders of this province that Ontario was the first province to introduce a no-fault compensation system funded solely by employer contributions in 1914. In exchange, they gave up the right to sue employers for work-related injuries. Today, that system is a ghost of its former self in many ways.
On May 22, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups held a news conference at Queen’s Park to announce the release of a whistleblower report called Phantom Jobs and Empty Pockets. These phantom jobs create what is called “ghost wages,” which enable workers’ real wage loss benefits to simply disappear.
This continued and obviously co-ordinated campaign of disrespect and lack of compassion for the injured worker is sure to continue under this government. As OPSEU members, we must continue to support all workers by holding the government to account, demanding an end to this practice, and returning respect and decency to the injured worker.
Please join us for this family-friendly event on the front lawn of Queen’s Park on Saturday, June 1 from 11 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. to support members of the injured workers’ community and fellow labour activists in A Celebration of the Power of Injured Workers.