ST. JOHN’S, NL. – A heavy fog has settled over the historic city of St. John’s, NL. But that has not dampened the spirits of representatives of the major unions representing Workers’ Compensations workers in Canada. The Canadian Union of Public Employees, National Union of Public and General Employees, and the Public Service Alliance of Canada represent Workers’ Compensation employees in Canada’s ten provinces and three territories.
The group meets annually to discuss issues that impact both injured workers and employees of workers’ compensation boards. Of particular interest to the group is the crushing workloads experienced by workers in the boards across Canada. Heavy workloads impact both the quality and timeliness of services received by injured workers. It also has a negative impact on the public delivery of quality compensation services.
Jeremy Stringer, president of local 28 of the Union of Northern Workers, a component of the PSAC in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut said, “It is inexcusable that staff is prevented from doing the kind of job that they are capable of because of employer indifference to creating manageable workloads.”
The unions have decided to launch a national public awareness campaign to highlight the issues arising from heavy workloads.
The group has also reaffirmed a statement called Principles of a Fair and Comprehensive Workers’ Compensation System. The statement calls for sweeping reforms to the workers’ compensation system across Canada to ensure that the system remains publically delivered by not-for-profit agencies regulated by legislation.
CUPE 1750 president Harry Goslin said, “We want to ensure that the system remains focused on safety and prevention, but ensures comprehensive and fair coverage for injured workers.”
Sharon Power, from the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees/NUPGE and host of the event 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.”
“We leave this meeting with a renewed sense of purpose and a determination to improve the system so that no injured worker receives less than optimum service,” said Sandra Wright, president of the Compensation Employees Union of British Columbia.
For further information, please contact:
Sharon Power, President of NAPE Local 7813 representing workers at the Workers’ Compensation Board of Newfoundland and Labrador at (709) 746-0993.