THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Injured Workers Group are hosting public meetings. The group states, “The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) has posted draft policies that will reduce services and benefits for disabled workers and have asked for public response”.
The current management of the WSIB has used its administrative powers to aggressively cut compensation to injured workers. These cuts are part of the WSIB’s response to the public attention given to its unfunded liability. This unfunded liability is largely the result of employer premium reductions under the provincial Conservatives during the 1990s and the Liberals subsequent failure to raise premiums until 2011.
Benefit cuts are unnecessary. In 2010, following a lot of public attention to the unfunded liability, the government appointed Professor Arthurs to do a funding review of the WSIB. In his report, Funding Fairness, Professor Arthurs agreed that the WSIB’s financial situation was urgent, but he emphasized that it could be addressed by modest premium increases for employers and without any cut-backs to injured worker benefits.
Nonetheless, the WSIB has aggressively cut injured workers’ compensation. The WSIB claims that that this is primarily because of its improved return to work services and a reduction in the number of claims, but provides no evidence to support such claims. According to the Board’s own statistics, there has been a 50 percent increase in the rate of claims denial and a reduction of $633 million in benefits. These draft policies are the WSIB’s attempt to legitimize and legalize its cuts.
A public meeting will be held to gather community response on:
Thursday, January 30, 2014
3– 5 PM
Lakehead Labour Centre
929 Ft. William Road
For more information, contact the Thunder Bay Injured Workers Support Group 622-8897 or Steve Mantis at 767-9633 or 630-7824.