TORONTO,ON--(Marketwired - June 01, 2016) - Coming on the heels of a series of exposés about the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board's (WSIB) mistreatment of injured workers, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups (ONIWG) and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) will rally on June 1st to challenge the most recent scandal involving the compensation board: a $2 billion per year gift from the WSIB to employers that comes at the same time as injured workers are being subjected to massive benefit cuts and forced into poverty. The rally will start at noon at Queen's Park, and will be followed by a march down University Avenue to the Ministry of Labour.

The gift to employers will come in the form of lowered premium rates, which the WSIB recently boasted it intends to introduce -- a 45% reduction in rates which will result in over $2 billion dollars a year in the pockets of employers. It also comes in the midst of an aggressive austerity agenda, where between 2011 and 2015, the WSIB cut some $7 billion from its future costs -- with the cost savings coming largely from slashing benefits to injured workers.

"After years of cutting costs on the backs of injured workers, it's employers who are being rewarded for our poverty," said ONIWG President Eugene Lefrancois. "We're talking about $2 billion taken out of the compensation system that could be supporting injured workers who need it, but instead it'll flow straight into the coffers of employers. It's shameful."

Today's rally and march promise to be hard-hitting and colourful. After the rally, the crowd will move to the Steelworkers Hall at 2pm for an exclusive pre-screening of the powerful documentary, A Day's Work, accompanied by a panel discussion with the film's Executive Producer. Co-organized with the Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign, the official Canadian premiere of the film will be this evening at 7pm.

"The austerity agenda affects all workers across Ontario, so we're all in this fight together," said Lefrancois. "And as long as there are people trying to undercut fairness in the workplace, and as long as there are people trying to rob our compensation system, we will be there fighting back. Workers' compensation belongs to workers, and we won't back down."

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Catherine Fenech


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