Wednesday, 10 January 2018

My Story! Part II - Work Injury


Me working before my
work accident. 
The stuff behind me is
what fell on me!
My Story! Part II - Work Injury:

Please remember, this is a severely watered-down version of my story. I have started to post a detailed version of story on my website. I also included backup documentation as well. However, it is nowhere near finished due to publishing issues. It can be found here www.fightwcb.org/my-story.html

 

So, like all injured workers, I unfortunately suffered a workplace accident and subsequent injuries. However, lucky for me, being in Ontario, Canada, I was fortunate as my workplace accident happened before Jan. 1/98. This is when the new workers compensation law came into effect. This was the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act. Which was through the provincial legislature passing ‘Bill 99’ (UGH!).



To, put it simply, the Ontario workers compensation system went from a system of being ‘investigative’ to a system that is an ‘adversarial system on steroids’! You read it here first - don’t forget it!



What do I mean by this? Simple, before January 1, 1998, injured workers were given ‘speedy’ workers compensation benefits, which was in place of being able to sue their employers. If there were problems or concerns, the WCB would fairly and properly investigate. Injured workers were given the benefit of the doubt. Ironically, this is part of the workers compensation law! Under the post Jan. 1, 1998 system, injured workers were forced to prove beyond any doubt in the mind of the WSIB staff member, that they, the injured worker, deserved the benefits. Most injured workers would agree it went from being protected, to being treated like you were asking for welfare handouts! No disrespect to people on the welfare system, my point is that workers compensation IS DIFFERENT, as it is NOT funded by taxpayers! It, is ironic as a lot of injured workers because of these neoliberalism cuts, or as I like to say neo-Nazism cuts (I am sorry, as I don’t mean to offend victims of the Nazi era, I only wish to
empathize how much they suffered by using it as a frame of reference of suffering). I will add that ‘Lucky or fortunate’ is a weird and perverse way of saying a victim of an accident is lucky, but when the way victims of workplace accidents are treated, nowadays, becomes worse, you start to understand.



Ok, so I was injured in 1997, as I said under the old Ontario workers compensation system, or as the ‘all mighty’ at the WSIB, love to throw in my face, I am “pre-1998”. Like I got away with robbing a bank or something! After my work injury and treatment, I returned to work more times than I can count. Once or twice on my own will, but most of the times through fear of retaliation by the WSIB and my employer.



The employer and the WCB have an unfair advantage over injured workers. I say it is like holding
a gun to a person’s head and then asking that person to do something unsafe. Then being shocked, when that person raises issue over how dangerous what you are asking them to!



During my time with my employer and the WSIB, I would suffer numerous additional injuries, even during their so called “safe suitable return to work program”. What a laugh! Translation, it is a program to save WSIB(WCBs) and employers money that is it! It is a program, in my opinion that is a complete and utter violation of every Human Rights code, as well as the Charter of Rights & Freedoms in Canada!



The best part was when I returned to work and after suffering additional injuries, the WSIB said I was faking and it was all in my head. They even had a ‘so-called doctor’ to make this claim. He said get this… after me suffering from the injuries for more than a year and a half after my accident, that I “would be fully recovered in six to eight weeks” and with no formal treatment or medication. This so-called doctor’s report, even now reminds of those people in the southern states. ‘Faith healers’, who would slap people in the forehead and say, “you are healed, by the grace of god!” That is what
I felt like what happened and still do, every time I read this doctor’s report! I did a little research on this doctor. Surprisingly, I found he was an avid supporter of the WSIB/WCBs and their ways. He would be part of medical research, which would increase the mobility of an injured worker. This was at no matter the cost and suffering to the injured worker. So, if there was great risk, of life or more severe permanent pain, the medical procedure or treatment would be forced on the injured worker. This was just to increase the injured worker’s mobility, even a little. This goal, which was to save the WSIB/WCBs money in permanent injury cost awards.



I question the ethical and moral actions of these so-called doctors and scientists. I also raise a greater concern, that if the WSIB/WCBs, who are a body representing government, forces a person to undergo a medical treatment/procedure, that may not be in their best interests, is this not a violation of the Declaration of Human Rights enacted by the United Nations – Only time will tell….



Sorry I had another ADD moment again! I did recently file a complaint against this doctor, with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. I filed the complaint not for financial reward, but for justice for myself and for other injured workers. To also attempt to bring back credibility to the medical profession. A profession, which has been severely damaged in the eyes of injured workers. Surprisingly, the complaint against the doctor, is going forward!



This will be the topic of another blog, which will be how to deal with WSIB/WCB doctors during and after examinations, as well as the use of what the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups - ONIWG calls ‘papers doctors’ in their campaign #WorkersCompIsARight. I will show you how to fight these doctors using the College of Physicians and Surgeons complaint process!



My Established Permanent Injury:

So, after many failed return to works, and several work accidents and injuries, the WSIB, after more than three years after my work accident, finally agreed I suffered a permanent injury, but only to my lower back. I explain this in a minute…

So, just a year prior to this, I love this part, I found in a WSIB/WCB board memo that was written by a WSIB/WCB doctor, which he states MMR reach, but no PI.



Not So Interesting side note:

Board memos are what is placed in your WSIB/WCB claim file. This is what they say or write about you, after they talk to you. Therefore, you have an extremely difficult time fighting them with appeal decisions. The Appeals officer and the Tribunal panel all have access to these memos, unfortunately you don’t get access to them, until it is usually much too late to correct any inconsistencies. I mean you have a right to access them, but who would access their file every time they communicated with the WCB. To ensure to ensure the WSIB/WCB documented the right thing. Therefore, I tell injured workers after a phone call, or verbal communication always follow it up with a letter, which will trump these memos! Or better yet only communicate by e-mail (yes other WCBs allow use of e-mail by injured workers, but not Ontario) So, we in Ontario are left to using snail mail - a letter. I complained to the WSIB, stating it costs me a dollar every time I send a letter now, to communicate with them. Why should I or any injured worker has to pay this, or pay for a fax line or service every time I wish to communicate with them?



Sorry, I got side tracked yet again, or side noted 😊! So, this WSIB/WCB doctor (yes, a paper doctor) said in this memo, regarding my injury that “MMR reached, No PI”. It was WSIB/WCB memo #50, which I can remember like yesterday. Ok, are you a little confused? No problem, let me explain and translate the WSIB/WCBs short-forms they use, because they write like they are somewhat lazy, or two-year olds!



First, the doctor said maximum medical recovery reached, no permanent impairment. Now for those who do not know the WSIB/WCBs determines when a person suffers a permanent impairment – PI. This is when the injured worker’s injury is not going to get any better. This is referred to as Maximum Medical Recovery. The alternative, in case you were wondering, is a full recovery. This is not what is stated here. Ironically, in the WSIB/WCB law it defines a “…permanent impairment as when MMR is reached. To further add to this part of the story. MMR is reached according to WSIB/WCB law/policy, when the usual healing times has been exceeded. In the case of my injury – a soft tissue injury they said, it was three months. This memo was written almost three years after the injury. So, one wonders what is really going on at the WSIB/WCB?

Secondly, this doctor never examined me, which is a great concern for most patients of doctors. This concern is where doctors who make comments without seeing their patients first. My point here, is that this is but one example of many of the WSIB/WCB & the WSIAT/WCT’s intentional deceptive behaviors in my file and likely in many others.

Another issue was that after the WSIB/WCB accepted my entire injury for more than three years, they just suddenly changed my injury from my ‘entire back, neck, and head’ to just my lower back. This too was in contravention of the WSIB/WCB law.



Interesting Side Note:

In making the determination that I did suffer a permanent injury, after more than three years after my accident, the WSIB says hey you not going to be able to drive a truck anymore, with a bad back.  

What is interesting about this is that I have talked to numerous injured workers including Dave Curtis who have sworn to me, and I believe them. They stated that the WSIB/WCB trained them to be truck drivers. The WSIB/WCB informed them that the job was suitable for a person with a bad back! Of course, I laughed when I heard that – yes, I do a lot of laughing, but I think you are starting to understand why. The WSIB/WCB do whatever they want with no accountability!         



Can’t/Can Take Transit Bus:

In the Spring of 2000, the WSIB/WCB decision maker stated in a memo that a previous return to work program my employer offered, and I did, was unsuitable for me. He explained this was due to the hour and half public transit bus ride, which I had to take to work. He stated this was due to my permanent physical limitations.

Ironically, this decision maker’s attitude would not only change but turn on me – in the worst way!

Then in the fall of 2000, when I had been attending the WSIB/WCB sponsored retraining program. The WSIB/WCB call it an LMR, not sure what they call it now. They keep changing names of stuff!

Well, my car broke down. I contacted the WSIB/WCB as I was unsure, if I would be able to afford a replacement car. You see my personal credit was destroyed with amount and length of the WSIB delays, I am sure you know exactly what I mean! So, I contacted the WSIB decision maker and was just advising him. This was so he was aware that I may have a problem as I may have to take the bus and it may be a problem for me. You see, I had checked what buses I would need to take to this program, and unlike during the employer modified work program, where it was just two buses, at an hour and a half. To travel to this WSIB/WCB program, I learned would be three buses and over an hour and forty-five minutes. When I informed the WSIB/WCB decision maker, he advised me to get a letter from my family doctor. However, before I got the letter from my family doctor, he had written me. In his letter, he stated, and I quote I “Suffer from self-perceived limitations”. This was not only, personally offensive, but it was without question slanderous and libel. My employer did on several occasions use this statement against me in the appeals process and gained from it, as a result. The best part of the whole situation, was that I was only advising him. I never stated to him I was taking the long bus ride, only, that I was concerned as I may have to. In fact, I was able to get a replacement car and it was not an issue, but the damage to my character was clearly done!       



My next Blog will be about my retraining program, my return to work, which was unsuitable due to my preexisting non-work-related disability and the events leading up to the WSIB and WSIAT appeals…….


Monday, 8 January 2018

My Story! Part I – Introduction



This blog is about my story and my fight with the WSIB - Ontario’s WCB, the WSIAT - the Tribunal, and my fight through the court system, where it is presently sitting at the Court of Appeal for Ontario.



In my first post, I said I was going to be posting about MEDICATIONS AND THE RISKS OF RETURN TO WORK, which is what inspired the Blogging.

Blogging - Oh man, that sounds even worse, like seriously throwing up on a Sunday morning! Sorry!

Well, I lied, being lied to is something that injured workers should be used to by now! Technically, I didn’t lie, this is in fact another WCB trick, which is to weave their lies in half-truths.

Sheet! I am starting to act like the WCB, after fighting against them for soooo long!  



At any rate, my second post whoopsie - Blog! I felt would serve you better, instead of the medication one, I felt this one, which is telling my story. This way, you know who these blogs are coming from. Now I will say that ‘my story’ is severely water downed, as I have left off many important points to get to the point. However, I started telling a detailed version of my story on the website, with backup documentation and all. Unfortunately, I ran in to publishing issues and I am presently changing everything over. So, the story stops at the first year I believe.  



I felt telling my story first was more important and may inspire you and other injured workers to NOT GIVE UP YOUR FIGHT! You do not know how important it is that injured workers not give up their fight, for their rights! I say this from the bottom of my heart! Aww, crap! now I am getting all mushy and sappy on you! CHILAX! (an old but appropriate word) to those who wanted the medication Blog, it is coming! Very shortly!



But seriously, if you, as an injured worker, more importantly a person, realized that you have rights! That these rights cannot be systematically stripped away, by the WCBs, or anyone else, unless you as a person allow it! They are rights that are guaranteed to you – like getting a free pizza after 30 minutes – Cheesy I know - oh I am bad eh!



The difference is that your rights, as a person, are enshrined in the highest law in Canada, the Constitution. This is also the case in most other countries like Canada, such as: The United States, Australia, The United Kingdom, and many others. Let me ask you a silly question here! Have you ever read the constitution? Or in the case of Canada the Charter of Rights & Freedoms, which is part of the Constitution? If you have please don’t be offended, but sadly most Canadians and people have not. Why? Because they, we are normal people who are too busy with work, family, and our lives. However, when you get hurt, the law is involved and now is a good time to consider giving it a glance or two! 

Here is where you can find it for Canada.





Did you know as a point of fact, that businesses in Canada do not have rights! Yes, you read that correctly!

According to the Supreme Court of Canada in their decision of RJ Macdonald v. Canada. This case involved a major tobacco company who went after the government claiming the laws, which restricted tobacco advertising, violated the company’s rights! The Supreme Court of Canada said, you do not have rights, therefore your argument is false! – So, to speak!

Therefore, whenever I hear an employer say, “We have rights” I start to sarcastically laugh. This of course, generally offends them and rightfully so. Aside from the false claim, of a business having rights, do you know why I laugh?

I laugh simple because the person I am dealing with is a physical person, and they are trying to impose their rights on their business/employer, which is well… laughable! 

Try it sometime and after you stop laughing and the employer gets angry at you, then you look at them and say you are a person – a tangible thing with rights, a business is intangible no matter how much money or assets it has. It can not vote, it can not claim rights under the Constitution or the Human Rights code! It has no rights, as I have. So, please do not claim the business is a human again, thank you. After they have recovered from that (as this generation says, ‘mike drop’), they will rethink their position and maybe be more respectful of you. I say maybe….





Ok, so I am not sure if it is my ADD, or the alcohol, yet again I got sidetracked, or as I have smartly claimed - I created a “side note” 😊!



By the way I apologize in advance, as this blog is going to be a bit of a whopper! As it tells the story of my injury and my fight to some degree which encompasses more than twenty years. So, grab a beer, a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, or whatever floats your boat, and sit back and enjoy – so to speak! To make things a bit more manageable I have broken this blog down into parts.



So, where was I? Oh yes, my story and my fight to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Again, alcohol induced memory loss. Of course, I did get hit in the head during my work accident, so maybe it is from that! If you have ever seen the 2015 movie Concussion, with Will Smith you will understand – great movie by the way, I encourage you to watch it! 



So, at any rate, I will give you a quick overview of my fight, which led me to my appeal to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. I want to add and need you to know that I am NOT A LAWYER, nor do I have one, or even consult with one! I did everything on my own, with information and legal research. This is all I basically had. So, this is the story in a quick watered-down version…. well sort of quick. I have started to post my story on my website with considerably more detailed and supporting documents and can be found here http://www.fightwcb.org/my-story.html



As I said before, I am going to break this story down in to more manageable parts and release each part that way you are not overwhelming with one huge read.



My next Blog will be about my work injury….


Sunday, 7 January 2018

My First BLOG!


FYI This is my first blog
Welcome to my first Blog written by FightWCB for injured workers and those who help injured workers. Thank you for stopping by...

OK, originally, I was starting of a post about the Risks of Medications and Return to Work. It was to start off as a small and simply Facebook post, but like most injured worker stories - nothing is ever simple! It has blown up in to a larger story, or article. So, as a result, I decided to make a ‘Blog’. I have never been a fan of the word blog. It sounds like someone throwing up! I am sorry, but it does to me!

At any rate, Blog is short for Weblog and is defined as “a regularly updated website or web page, typically, one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style”.

So, this is my first Blog. My second is what caused the need for the blog which is the Risks of Medications and Return to Work. I won't get into the chicken and eg argument. I will just state this is the first blog.

Here in my first blog, I am going to discuss what I will talk about in my future blogs, as well as who is my likely audience. This way people will have a better understanding of what my blogs are about and why they might want to read them! 

To start off with, I have been an injured worker for more than twenty years. I was injured on February 6, 1997, when a load fell on me hitting my back, neck, and head. Regarding knowing the work accident date, I am extremely embarrassed to say I remember that date as my own name, sometimes I forget my own name, but I always remember that date! However, sadly, I sometimes forget my daughter’s birthdate, and I was there! Sadly, I remember the date I was hurt! Sorry Abbey! They say we remember pain, more than we remember pleasure. Perhaps, this is why our society revolves around punishment rather than rehabilitation.



At any rate, I have been fighting the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board – WSIB, which is Ontario’s (Canada) workers compensation Board, as well as the Workplace Safety & Insurance Appeals Tribunal – WSIAT, which is Ontario’s workers compensation appeals tribunal for more than twenty years. I have also filed a civil lawsuit against both the WSIB and the WSIAT. The matter is presently before the Court of Appeal for Ontario, where I am awaiting their decision – Fingers & Toes crossed! I prepared my civil lawsuit; opposed the WSIB & WSIAT motions to dismiss my appeal; the WSIAT’s motion to exclude audio evidence; then prepared, filed, and argued my appeal at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. I did all this as a self-represented individual with very little help from a lawyer or other source. I will say the court clerks have provided an invaluable assistance with procedural advice. Please never ask them for legal advice only procedural advice.   

Interesting side note on Why WSIB and not WCB also how the WCB came into reality:

I’ll do these ‘side notes’, so people reading my blogs have a better understanding of information.

The Conservative ‘Harris’ Government in 1997, changed the workers compensation law with the passing of Bill 99. There were numerous changes to the law, as well as the name change from WCB to WSIB and WCT to WSIAT. This also reduced benefits to injured workers from 90% of net to 85% of net. I still remember when the Harris conservatives defended this reduction. They did it
claiming that it will encourage workers back to work.  

The change to law, maybe I would agree with, if I was a person who lacked any feelings towards other human beings and put profit solely above human life. However, I would not agree with the name change. After all, didn’t it cost money to change the name from the WCB to the WSIB. For example, the signs on the buildings, business cards, letter heads, etc. For a provincial organization of this size, it must have cost thousands, tens of thousands of dollars to make all these changes. This confirms that the law changes were solely not about saving money, they were about what I have no idea!   

To this day, I still thank God, every day for me being hurt prior to the coming into force of the WSIA – January 1, 1998. However, in typical fashion the law did apply to all decision in my case after January 1, 1998 and I have no doubt the WSIB staff applied the law regardless of date of injury.    


Interesting side note, within a side note: In Canada, Ontario was the first province that started a workers’ compensation system within Canada. With the enactment of the first workers compensation law, which came into effect in 1915. Prior to this, workers had to sue their employers. This was under the British law
of 1865. This law gave workers who were hurt in the workplace, the right to sue their employers for workplace accidents. Unfortunately, in the nineteenth and into the turn of the twentieth century, workers injured at work, would have to pay their legal fees upfront. This is unlike today, where we have personal injury lawyers, with their faces on every billboard and transit bus. With all of them offering no upfront fees for representation. This left many injured workers without protection. Leaving them at the mercy of society. This prompted the government of the time, to investigate alternative options to workers suing their employers for workplace injuries. What is amazingly ironic, is that the
government of the time that was in power was the conservative party. I say this as eighty-three years later it would be the conservative party under the power of Mike Harris, who would virtually destroy it, with the enactment of Bill 99 and the WSIA. In 1914, his honour Sir Justice Ralph Meredith was commissioned to study alternative options. As a result, he provided a report to the provincial legislature and within the report he offered his five principles for a new workers compensation system. They were: no-fault compensation, security of benefits, collective liability, exclusive jurisdiction and administration by independent boards. In Ontario the workers compensation system came into effect with
the enactment of the first workers compensation law on January 1, 1915.  His honour Sir Justice Ralph Meredith’s principles spread across Canada and throughout the United states. All except two states have workers compensation, which are the state of Tennessee and New Jersey.
    






So, my point of talking about my many years’ experience as an injured worker and fighting both the WSIB and the WSIAT in the appeal process, as well as in the courts, is that I have gained some helpful knowledge, that I think other injured workers could benefit from. Therefore, I decided a few years ago, to start a website which is www.fightwcb.org. In the website, I try to provide helpful information for injured works to learn how to fight their respective WCB.

As I mentioned earlier, in this blog, this blog was done by accident. However, it will be focused in content that is similar nature to the website. This is helping injured workers fight their respective WCB and their employers with workplace injuries.

The main audience of the blog will likely be injured workers, injured worker advocates, representatives for injured workers, as well as possibly others who service injured workers such as healthcare professionals and others.

Call Me Out!
I want this blog to be as helpful as possible and in order for that to happen I need critics, which are you. If you see something you do not agree with in the sense of it is not correct or factual please send me a message and let me know. If I am found to be wrong, which it happens more time than you will ever know 😊 I will correct it and even give you credit for it. As I said the point of this Blog and my web site is to help injured workers fight their respective. To also with information, maybe help injured workers avoid a fight with their WCB and/or their employer with correct helpful knowledge. This can only be done with your help!

I hope you find my Blogs enjoyable, informative and most of all helpful in your fight!

In the Course of…

In the Course of… Ok I am struggling to understand something in the entitlement of personal injuries, as a result of a workplace a...