TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG) calls on the WSIB and the Ford government to reverse the $1.45 billion dollar gift to Ontario employers, and instead put that money towards restitution for injured workers who have been unjustly denied or cut off benefits. The 30% reduction to employer premiums announced on Wednesday means less revenue coming into the system, and will inevitably lead to a further reduction in compensation provided to workers who have been injured and made ill on the job.

“Injured workers have already borne the burden of paying off the WSIB’s manufactured financial crisis,” said ONIWG President Willy Noiles. “Since 2010, compensation benefits provided to injured workers have been slashed by over $2 billion. Almost half of injured workers with a permanent disability are living at or near poverty levels. And now that the WSIB is happy with its financial picture, instead of restitution, the Ford government and the WSIB have decided to become ‘reverse Robin Hoods’ and reward employers.”

ONIWG has alerted the Ford government of its Workers’ Comp is a Right campaign. The campaign is based on ensuring that the WSIB listens to injured workers’ own doctors, eliminate cuts due to so-called “pre-existing conditions”, and eliminate the practice of “deeming”. This is a bureaucratic practice of reducing or ending benefits to the injured by pretending that they are well or have more income than they actually have.

“With this campaign and the Real Healthcare campaign, injured workers are reminding the Ford government that workers’ compensation is a right,” said Noiles. “It is not charity or a ‘burden’ on employers or the province. The rate cut announcement is making a mockery of the historical compromise at the root of our century old system of protection to workers. Ontario’s ‘government for the people’ has ignored some of the province’s most vulnerable.”

Injured workers are offended by the idea that condemning injured workers to poverty will boost the economy of Ontario.  More poverty means more mental stress, and more economic and social disruption. ONIWG calls on the Ford government to reverse this “gravy train,” and ensure that the WSIB’s strong finances be put to proper use – to compensate all those who have been made to suffer by the Board’s austerity measures.

For further information, please contact:
Willy Noiles, 289-219-4473