Government proposes amendments to WSIA…
October 24, 2012 at 8:53pm
On October 22, 2012, the Ontario Ministry of Labour announced proposed changes to the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act (WSIA) that would have a negative impact on injured worker benefits going forward.The McGuinty government’s proposed amendments would include a Review of Loss of Earnings benefits after 72 months and base survivor benefits solely on the average earnings of the deceased workers’ occupation/trade instead of the statutory minimums currently provided under the Act. The McGuinty government claims these changes will help ensure a financially stable workplace safety and insurance system that is fair and balanced for injured workers and their employers.
But the reality is that these changes will result in more money being taken away from workers and/or their surviving families who have already had their benefit income slashed in the last few years.
In fact, the WSIB second quarter report for 2012 states, proudly, that benefit payments to workers have decreased by $46 million over the same three-month period in 2011. This includes a reduction to loss of earning benefits of $31 million. Not only that, but premium revenue increased by $64 million over the same time frame.
Further cuts to loss of earnings benefits and changes to survivor benefits – among the many other anti-worker changes proposed and already in place at the WSIB – would put already-vulnerable workers and their survivors in further jeopardy. A workplace safety and insurance system is supposed to protect workers on the job. In fact, when the system was put in place it was at the loss of a worker’s legal right to sue their employer for work-related injuries.
But the WSIB is determined to eliminate its unfunded liability at any cost. And over the last few years the system has deteriorated to a point where fairness, dignity and compassion for injured workers and their families are not considered important by the WSIB or our government.
Your Union, along with many other labour and injured worker groups, is fighting these changes. We cannot allow injured workers and their families to suffer solely to ensure that the WSIB can make a profit.