Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
VANCOUVER Cutting another 235 jobs at workers compensation will mean even more delays for injured workers, especially in rural areas, and they will dangerously weaken the system of workplace protections, CUPE BC says.

This huge cut, added to the already 150 jobs that are gone, will hit injured workers hard and increase risk in the workplace, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill said. It will only add more injuries to the insulting way the Campbell government is handling WCB.

The cuts come after announcements that WCB is in the red for the first time in a decade. Employers were getting money back until this year, about $720 million over five of those years. Now there is a $287 million deficit.

The cuts mean four more WCB offices will close Cranbrook, Williams Lake, Vernon and Campbell River and some will be merged. This will add to delays, and it already takes 17.6 days longer to process a claim here than in Alberta. Thats from injury to first payment.

What the Liberals seem to be saying is that the employer making an extra buck is more important than protecting workers safety, ONeill said. They have shamelessly attacked many other vulnerable groups, now they are abandoning injured workers as well.

They seem willing to sacrifice the enforcement of health and safety laws as they cut to the bone.

An injured worker in Vernon, for example, will be forced to call a 1-800 to get help with an injury claim. Face to face contact will be eliminated as will the WCB help line. The remaining offices will be overworked, adding more strain to the system.

Once again, the Liberals are saying let the fox guard the henhouse, ONeill said. Let the employer decide what is safe. That is a disastrous course for working families who have a right to expect loved ones to return home safely from work.

It is truly insulting to future generations of young people who will no longer get the protections, rights and benefits of a solid WCB system.


Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President, 604-916-8444.