To the editor:
At the Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers Support Group Annual General Meeting, I was reminded that most people in the province believe that injured workers receive compensation from the tax paying public. THIS IS NOT TRUE! The Workers Compensation Board now called the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is an organization created over one hundred years ago to provide compensation to workers injured at the workplace. The system was created to stop employees from suing their employer for injuries occurring at the workplace and guaranteed that employees would receive fair compensation for time lost as a result of those injuries; no matter the length of time they were unable to work. The WSIB is funded solely through contributions from employers. Not a single penny of compensation to injured workers comes out of the public purse.
At the AGM, I also heard some horror stories about injured workers waiting more than 10 years to receive any payment from the WSIB and this was only after the lawyers and the Office of the Workers Advisor were unable to win his case. He handled the case himself and finally proved that he was injured at the workplace and deserved to be provided with compensation.
I also heard about many cases of workers needing lawyers to handle their cases and the lawyer demanding an exorbitant up-front fee of thousands of dollars and up to 20 per cent payment of any compensation awarded to the injured worker.
The WSIB has in the past and continues to implement policies that prohibit thousands of injured workers from receiving the compensation that they deserve and it is time the general public understands that injured workers are not paid from their tax dollars and that injured workers are being mistreated by a compensation system that was created to protect them.
On Dec. 10 injured workers and their supporters will be raising their voices of concern at rallies across the province. Here in Thunder Bay, we will be holding a rally at the WSIB office on Jade Ct. at 12:00 o’clock noon to let the WSIB know that they must change their ways in dealing with injured workers. We invite the public to join us.