Representatives of the major unions representing Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) workers in Canada met to discuss issues that impact injured workers, employers and employees of workers compensation boards.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represent Workers’ Compensation employees in Canada’s ten provinces and three territories.
The conference focused on two primary issues affecting employees of WCB’s and injured workers alike. Sadly, unreasonable workloads are experienced by workers in multiple sectors across Canada. No one is immune from the negative health impacts of heavy workloads.
All employers including Canada’s Workers Compensation Boards have very specific legal duties to protect workers under health and safety legislation. Union representatives hold the view that “excessive workload” is a serious health and safety issue negatively affecting employee mental and physical wellbeing.
The unions have decided to hold their respective Provincial Legislative bodies accountable for the lack of safeguards designed to protect working people from the devastating impact of excessive workload. Each compensation organization is full of talented professional staff that routinely put in more than an honest day’s work.
“It is inexcusable that staff are prevented from doing the kind of job that they are capable of because of employer indifference to creating manageable workloads.” said Tamara Elisseou president of CUPE 1866.
Lloyd Samson, president of Local 55 of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) said, “We want to ensure that the system remains focused on safety and prevention but ensures comprehensive and fair coverage for injured workers.”
Debbie Wallace, president of Local 2180 of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) said, “It is important that the views of the workers who are expected to operate the system be heard and respected. We are the workers who know where the system is flawed and how it could be improved for all workers in all sectors.”
“We leave this conference with the view that Provincial Governments must expand existing compensation legislation to help those suffering from the effects of work overload. Governments must also take tangible steps to strengthen prevention and enforcement in order to better protect the wellbeing of all workers,” said CUPE 1750 president Harry Goslin of Ontario and host of the event.