Annual Injured Worker Province-Wide Christmas Rallies Demanding Change at the WSIB

TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) is holding rallies across Ontario, demanding that the WSIB implement injured and ill workers’ New Year’s Resolutions.

After decades of austerity and benefits cuts for injured and ill workers, the WSIB has announced that it will be the "Title Sponsor" for London, Ontario's New Year’s Eve bash. While the WSIB recklessly spends money sponsoring a party in President and CEO Jeffery Lang’s backyard, many injured and ill workers are going through the holidays without food or the ability to buy gifts for loved ones, wondering whether they’ll be able to pay the bills and keep the roof over their heads. The decision to sponsor the event is another insult to injury for those who have experienced long term and permanent injuries and illnesses.

Year after year, the provincial government and the WSIB gift more and more of injured workers’ money to corporations through premium cuts and rebates, while injured and ill workers are left farther and farther behind.

Premium rates paid by employers averaged $2.59 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2016. However, by 2023, the average premium rate per $100 of insurable earnings dropped to $1.30, a decline of 50%. At the same time as these historic premium rate reductions, Employers were gifted over $1.2 billion by way of rebates.

Back in 2022, the provincial government promised injured and ill workers that they would explore increasing their wage-loss benefits from 85% to 90% of net earnings, in line with 6 other provinces in Canada. The wage-loss rate in Ontario was 90% until the previous Progressive Conservative (PC) government reduced it to 85% in the 1990s. We are nearing 2024 and no action has been taken by the government.

In Thunder Bay, Janet Paterson, President of ONIWG, states: “The provincial government says that they have workers’ backs. Yet when it comes time for the government to step up and increase the wage-loss rate to 90%, the government leaves us high and dry. Promise made, promise broken.”

In Toronto, Executive Vice-President of ONIWG, Wayne Harris, states: “It’s time that the provincial government ends the predatory practice of deeming by passing Private Member’s Bill 57. With deeming, the WSIB dreams up an imaginary job that it says the injured worker could get, then takes away the wages the worker is “deemed” to be earning, and leaves the injured worker with little or no compensation benefits, regardless of whether the injured worker is actually employed or not. Deeming is wrong, plain and simple.”

In Windsor, Liz Garant, ONIWG’s Vice-President for Southwestern Ontario, states: “The WSIB needs to practice what they preach and make sure workers claiming entitlement to chronic mental stress are properly compensated. We know the Board is using criteria that is discriminatory and near impossible to meet. This has resulted in around a 90% denial rate – that’s unfair and unacceptable.”

The Toronto rally will be held on Monday, December 11, 2023 at 11:15 a.m. at the Ministry of Labour in Toronto, 400 University Avenue. For more information: Injured workers Day of action Toronto – bring your NY resolutions ( . The Windsor event will be held on Monday, December 11, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at Unifor Local 195’s Hall, 3400 Somme Ave.

For more information, please contact:

Janet Paterson, ONIWG President – Phone number: 807-472-6910