Injured Workers’ Bill of Rights | The Ontario Federation of Labour

Injured Workers’ Bill of Rights

Injured Workers’ Bill of Rights

Everyday in Ontario, workers are injured or made ill on the job. All too often, these workers must battle within a workers’ compensation system that was built to support them, but fails to meet their needs. For injured workers who are simply seeking the compensation and benefits they are owed, this unjust process is unacceptable.

This is a Bill of Rights created by injured workers and endorsed by the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) and the Ontario Federation of Labour to outline the minimum rights that the provincial government must guarantee to ensure just, fair, and non-discriminatory treatment for injured workers.

  • Universal workers’ compensation coverage, in every sector and every workplace. Every worker, regardless of the sector, should have access to workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Unimpeded access to the health care that injured workers need, with full coverage for related travel costs. Remove the barriers that injured workers face in accessing the health care they need.
  • A workers’ compensation system that adequately recognizes mental health workplace injuries. Despite the passage of Bill 163, which recognizes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a work-related injury for first responders, our compensation system makes it very difficult to claim a mental stress injury in all other occupations.
  • Make “deeming” illegal by enacting Bill 57, Respecting Injured Workers Act. Deeming is a practice that calculates benefits for injured workers based on the incorrect assumption that they are receiving income, regardless of whether they are actually employed. The practice reduces injured workers’ benefits and drives them into poverty, forcing them to seek support from publicly funded systems such as Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program, and denying them the Employer-funded benefits they are entitled to.
  • Recognize that an injured worker’s treating health care team is the primary and most reliable source of medical information. This best practice avoids approaches that are widespread in the system and that further harm injured workers: ignoring sound medical advice regarding readiness to return to work; blaming “pre-existing conditions” for injuries clearly caused at work; relying on untested “expected recovery times” to declare a worker healed; purchasing reports from private medical consultants who never meet the worker; ignoring available medical evidence submitted by the treating health care providers; etc.
  • ‘Pre-Existing Conditions’ should not cause benefit cuts. When an injured worker is approved for compensation benefits in Ontario, they often have their benefits reduced or eliminated because of what is regarded as a “pre-existing condition,” even if that condition has never caused work disruptions in the past.
  • Injured workers who attain the age of 65 should not experience limits on their Loss of Earnings benefits. Currently, Loss of Earnings benefits are terminated when an injured worker turns 65, even if they intended to work beyond that age. When the worker’s compensation system was founded, benefits were intended to be available for as long as the injury lasts.
  • Enact a bill to recognize June 1 as Injured Workers’ Day in the province of Ontario. 

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