PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING!
I do apologize as I have not been able to do my blogs, on a regular basis, as I wanted to. This is because I have been very busy with my own court actions and many other issues. I hope this will soon calm down. I then can get back to finishing my website and doing more helpful blogs.
As always, I welcome any input good, bad, and sadly ugly!
Ok so I did it again!
I was going to do a short post on social media, but I realized to really explain everything I must turn it into a blog. So, here it is on the “Perception of Workers Compensation Benefits” and what you MUST know when you are fighting your WCB/WSIB/WorkSafe.
While I am preparing my legal arguments for my judicial review of the WSIAT (Ontario WCAT) decision, I realized something. The law allows the WSIAT, at least in Ontario, to stand as a party to any applications opposing the WSIAT’s decisions. What is even more concerning is that the courts allow the WSIAT to aggressively oppose the applications for judicial review (in effect appeals) of the WSIAT decisions.
This is, in part, perhaps why in its 40-year history only 2 decisions of the WSIAT have ever been judicially reviewed by the Ontario Courts.
The only reasons why the WSIAT has been SOOOO successful is for two reasons.
The first is that the WSIAT, in most times, are going up against unrepresented injured workers, who struggle to, learn the court process, conduct legal research, and attempt to form somewhat coherent and convincing legal arguments. All while dealing with their injuries.
The second is that the WSIAT can defend their decision being challenged in the courts, which is to the point that the WSIAT appears to be almost perfect!
There are two categories of administrative boards/tribunals in Canada. These categories have an extremely important purpose, and it is this incorrect categorization that is at the heart of the WSIAT’s almost perfect record.
The first category are those administrative boards/tribunals that act in the best interest of society.
These would be for example:
· Energy regulating boards, who regulates energy costs;
· Licensing boards, who issue or deny license for driving, liquor and so on.
· Social Assistance program board/tribunals, who award or deny social assistance benefits to those in need.
The second category would be are those administrative boards/tribunals that hear and settle disputes between two parties, with matters that have little or no direct interest in society.
These would be for example:
· Human rights commission/board who hear a human rights complaint between one party against another.
· Landlord & tenant boards who hears disputes between landlords and tenants.
In Canada, there are over 700 tribunals and boards, who perform a wide range of tasks. So, there are many more examples.
Now let us see where workers compensation boards/tribunals fit in these two categories?
As many of you may know, workers compensation boards pay benefits to injured workers out of a fund. This fund is solely funded by employers who pay premiums into it. It is NOT in any way funded by taxpayers. However, as many of you may know, when injured workers are denied their legitimate claim to workers compensation benefits, in most cases countless numbers of injured workers are then forced onto taxpayer funded social assistance programs. This, in effect, transfers the cost of workplace injuries from employers onto the backs of taxpayers.
For example, in data obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services I learned that on average each and every month,
4,444 injured workers are forced onto Ontario’s social income assistance programs.
This costs Ontario taxpayers more than $30 million a year!
Ok, so you now understand the types of administrative boards/tribunals and the purpose of the workers compensation boards/tribunals.
I ask you now, which category would you place the workers compensation boards/tribunals into the first who has a society best interest, or the second who resolves disputes between two parties?
I really hope you picked the second, but if you if you picked the first that is understandable as it can get a bit confusing. This is especially the case where employers and government are constantly trying to convince us that workers compensation benefits are a privilege,
when they are a RIGHT!
I say this as it is a long accepted legal principle that when an individual has been wronged that have a lawful right of redress! This is also included in Canada’s Charter of Rights & Freedoms under s. 7 - Security of the Person.
So, in case you don’t understand, let me explain why workers compensation boards/tribunals fall into the second category.
First, we are usually so wrapped up in fighting the workers compensation board and/or tribunal we forget who the real fight is with – OUR EMPLOEYRS! While workers compensation laws prevent injured workers from suing their employers, in most cases, the law does not change the fact that it is still a dispute between you, the injured worker, and your employer.
Therefore, it is a dispute between two parties and as such it falls into the second category.
It has no impact on society, well aside form the negative impact when things fail to work.
Now, why is it that the workers compensation boards/tribunals and even the courts, wrongly believe that workers compensation boards/tribunals fall into the first category. It is simple, stigma. More accurately it is the false perception that workers compensation benefits are paid by taxpayers, when we all know they are not. As I explained previously, where more than 4,444 injured workers a month are on Ontario social assistance. Why because of stigma.
This is why every time an injured worker opens their mouth the first words out MUST be:
“That workers compensation benefits are funded solely by employer premiums. They are NOT funded in any way by taxpayers. However, when legitimate claims for workers compensation are denied to injured workers, they are then forced onto taxpayer funded social assistance programs. Therefore, #WorkersCompIsARight and when that right is unlawfully denied it costs injured workers, but most importantly it costs taxpayers!”
The reason why you say this is to get the decision maker, law makers, and most importantly the general public in the right frame of mind. To stop hating injured workers and start questioning the unlawful actions of the workers compensation boards and tribunals.