Ontario workers pay the price

Posted on April 8, 2008 in Debates, Health Debates

TheStar.com – comment/letter – Ontario workers pay the price
April 08, 2008

Re: When companies get rewarded for mistakes – April 5

An investigation of the rebates paid to employers by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is long overdue. The headline on the article is a bit misleading, however. Employers are not rewarded “for” having unsafe workplaces; they are rewarded “despite” breaking safety rules and “for” keeping the cost of their workers’ compensation claims down – often by suppressing valid claims through intimidation, lies and phony appeals that cause years of delays – until the payments no longer affect the employer’s rebate.

Even if the WSIB cuts off future rebates to those employers convicted of safety offences, such prosecutions are extremely rare and nearly always occur only after someone has been gravely injured or killed. Without fundamental changes to the system, it will remain possible to receive millions in “safety rebates” without a safety inspector ever setting foot in the workplace.

The current system of financial incentives is a sick joke at the expense of workers maimed and killed through the negligence of employers. It is no substitute for genuine enforcement of the laws on workplace safety.

David Wilken, Staff Lawyer, Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario, Toronto

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