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Increased workloads are getting in the way of providing quality services, say the people who provide support to injured workers.

Delegates at the recent Conference of Canadian Compensation Unions in Ottawa discussed how increased workloads are having a negative impact on the provision of quality services to injured workers.

Overworked employees experience stress, burnout, and physical and mental health problems – all of which are linked to deteriorating service quality.

Another disturbing trend delegates identified is the erosion of benefits to injured workers. The length of claims is being reduced to save costs. Delegates heard there is a tendency to focus on the bottom line and not the needs of the injured worker, which again hurts service quality.

Episodes of violence and bullying are another major problem. Threats of violence from the public, threats of suicide from injured workers, and workplace bullying all exact a heavy toll on workers’ mental and physical well-being.

Violence and bullying are not part of our jobs” says Harry Goslin, president of CUPE 1750, representing workers at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in Ontario.

Delegates heard that in the majority of cases employers do not take workers’ concerns about violence and bullying seriously.

Injured workers deserve better” says Sandra Wright, president of the Compensation Employees Union (CEU) in British Columbia. The CEU is an affiliate of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

Goslin says that to highlight the seriousness of the problem, CUPE and the NUPGE will work together to develop a national strategy for compensation boards across Canada.

Collectively, we will impress upon employers the need to be proactive when it comes to workplace violence and bullying before the unthinkable happens,” says Goslin.

Several years have passed since the first national meeting of compensation employees and yet the problem of workload is still a pressing concern. “Workers are struggling to provide quality services under immense workloads. It’s high time employers stepped up to the plate and seriously addressed workers workload concerns,” says Wright.

CUPE and NUPGE represent more than 8,000 compensation employees across Canada. The group meets every two years to discuss issues affecting both injured workers and employees of workers’ compensation boards.