24 Year Veteran of Farm Worker Program Argues WSIB Discriminates Against Injured Migrants
Who: Injured Workers Action for Justice, IAVGO Community Legal Clinic and Justicia for Migrant Workers
What: Press event and Delegation to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) to launch Human Rights complaint against the WSIB
Where: 655 Bay St at 11:15 AM (Bay St and Elm St)
When: Monday March 21st, 2016 - International Day for the Elimination of Racism
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 21, 2016) - Injured migrant workers and allies will be launching a Human Rights complaint against the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) on March 21st, the International Day for Elimination of Racism.
Robert Sulph, 51, suffered life threatening injuries when a malfunctioning saw sliced his neck and carotid artery. Sulph worked in Ontario for 24 years as a migrant farm worker at the time of his workplace injury.
The province's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) knew Sulph was returning to Jamaica but did not create a plan for his care. In Jamaica, Sulph has not been able to get the healthcare he needs to recover. He has fallen into poverty and ill health, largely unable to work with his injury. In April of 2015, instead of addressing the barriers to getting the health care he needs, the WSIB closed his file and told him they would take no further action on his case.
"The WSIB does virtually nothing to help injured migrant workers even though they have a legal obligation to. The systemic prejudice the WSIB has against this group of black, disabled, non-citizen workers amounts to discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code," says Jessica Ponting, Community Legal Worker with IAVGO Community Legal Clinic and Sulph's representative.
"The WSIB doesn't care about us getting treatment or recovering from our injuries. I grew food for Ontarians for 24 years before I almost died on the job. It's not right that the WSIB treats migrant workers like our health doesn't matter. We are treated like we are disposable when we are no longer useful to Canada," says Sulph.
The Human Rights complaint asserts that by not providing equitable health care services to migrant workers, the WSIB perpetuates harmful, race-based stereotypes and engages in systemic and adverse-effects discrimination based on disability, race, ethnicity, place of origin and citizenship. Among other remedies, the complaint argues that the WSIB should support injured migrant workers with the choice and the means to stay in Ontario for health care.
The complaint will be delivered at 11:15 am to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario at 655 Bay St., Toronto on March 21, 2016, the International Day for the Elimination of Racism. Supporters will hold a press event with signs and read a statement from Robert Sulph. This action follows calls for the Ontario Ombudsman to launch an investigation in to the WSIB's practice of ignoring medical evidence. It is also part of a campaign to challenge the WSIB's failure to provide sufficient health care to workers injured on the job.