Happy Injured Workers Day!

Every year on June 1st injured workers, their families, friends, labour unions and other progressive justice seeking groups gather around Canada to call for drastic changes to their Provinces and Territories Workers Compensation programs. Although this is just one day of the year highlighted to bring attention to the trials and tribulations injured workers and their families face, their struggle is constant and story of injustice is all too common. This day of recognition for injured workers and their families found its inception in 1983 when on June 1stover 3000 marchers converged on the steps of the Ontario legislature to demand a voice for injured workers in the committee meetings being held to revamp the Ontario WCB system.

By sheer numbers their voices could not be ignored and the committee capitulated to let injured workers have their say.
In May of 2008 the Canadian Labour Congress adopted a resolution to proclaim June 1st “a Canada-wide day of action to intensify the struggle for justice for all injured workers”.
For generations, Canada has been experiencing an epidemic of workplace injury and fatality. Our province of British Columbia is absolutely no exception. The claims process for WCB benefits can sometimes be very long, confusing and adversarial. As stated in the excellent 2009 report entitled:

In 2002, major changes began to be made to the laws and policies that govern the workers‟ compensation system in British Columbia. Those changes were initiated by the Liberal government after an aggressive lobbying effort by employers. The employer lobby advanced the inaccurate view that the system had become economically unsustainable. The resulting changes were based upon no discernible principle other than that of reducing costs for employers. In that regard, the changes were very successful. But these changes have come at a profound cost to workers and to the treatment and benefits that injured workers receive under the compensation system. The combination of the 2002 legislative amendments, ongoing policy revision, and structural change have resulted in the following changes to the BC Workers‟ Compensation Board (WCB) and to compensation benefits for injured workers:

The only way to make sure that people don’t have to deal with the trials and tribulations of being an injured worker and dealing with the WCB – is to make sure people don’t get hurt in the first place. It is important that we continue to call for reform of the Workers Compensation system here in BC, but even more importantly let us resolve to not have workers injured in the first place.

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