Budget not enough to help the needy
May 14, 2013
Today, June 1, is Injured Workers' Day, a time to recognize our sisters and brothers who have been injured or made sick on the job and to press for safer workplaces and better treatment of those who have been injured or made sick.
It has been nearly a century since an employer-funded system of compensation for injured workers was first conceived. By now, we should have safe workplaces and good compensation to take care of those who still get injured or made sick. But that is not the case. Workplace injuries remain commonplace, and the supports for injured workers are getting worse, not better.
Since 1996, the amount employers pay into WSIB has dropped from $3.20 per $100 of payroll to $2.26. Ontario's Liberal government recently released a KPMG report aimed at further slashing this important program.
Since that report's release, the WSIB has increased the denial of new claims by nearly 50 percent, decreased the average benefit at the final review by nearly 30 percent, cut the number of injured workers who receive a permanent impairment assessment by about 30 percent and laid off more than 300 WSIB staff.
That is not progress.
The real bottom line is this: Workers are being forced to pay for a dangerous program of budget cuts because the Liberals are more committed to spending billions of dollars in ongoing in corporate tax cuts while people who are injured on the job are, more and more, forced into poverty.
CUPE Ontario calls on the Ontario government to:
- Put an end to the poverty facing injured workers
- Extend mandatory WSIB coverage for all workers in all sectors
- Restore injured workers benefits to the full cost of living
- Eliminate experience rating
- Eliminate "deeming" and practices that limit injured workers' post-injury benefits
It is high time that we started valuing everyone in this province. It is high time we made sure that we ensured employers paid for injuries within their workplaces. Then they might take stronger measures to prevent injuries and job-related illnesses from happening in the first place.
Fred and Candace