CUPE Ontario gathered today in front of Doug Ford’s constituency office to protest cuts to WSIB and to address issues facing workers’ health and safety in Ontario.
“These cuts need to stop,” stated Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “We need to support workers’ health and safety so that we can strengthen our workplaces and support the communities who depend on these workers every single day.”
Below are a series of facts regarding some of the changes to WSIB and Health and Safety that are a result of the Ford Government’s cuts:
- If an employer is reluctant to hire you because of your injury history, the WSIB will continue to deduct from employee pay. This can be devastating to someone counting on their WSIB benefits to get by.
- When the WSIB acknowledged that underfunding of liability issues had subsided, the Ford Conservative continued by reducing employer premium rates by as much as 30%.
- 94% of Chronic Mental Stress claims have been denied, a denial rate higher than any other claims and one that’s discriminatory towards workers suffering from mental stress.
“The cuts to WSIB and to these workers is just wrong,” said Hahn. “But the changes don’t stop at WSIB. We are seeing unprecedented reductions to health and safety and to resources for injured workers.”
“The Ford Conservatives are denying workers basic, fundamental rights and putting public services at risk,” stressed Hahn. “If we are going to protect workers’ rights and keep our communities safe, we need to build resistance and come together. We need to stop the Ford Conservatives and make sure they are gone in the next election.”
In addition, health care is not properly funded and medical outbreaks are occurring; workplace violence is taking place in Long Term Care facilities and in our schools, and ongoing cuts to the municipal sector and social services have departments trying to do more with less. All of this is affecting both the workers and the communities who rely on these services.
“Increased workloads and increased overtime across the board are pushing workers towards burnout and mental health illness,” added Carlos Capurro, Injured Worker Advocate, and WSIB representative with CUPE 4400. “We need to make changes now to protect them.”
Currently, over 1.7 million workers in the province (23 percent of the workforce) do not have WSIB coverage, including many that CUPE represents, such as Early Childcare workers or other social service sector employers and retirement/nursing home employers.