Historic Victoria was established as a fort for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1843 and is the home to BC’s stately Legislative Buildings which spawned some of Canada’s leading social policies. It was in this atmosphere representatives of the major unions representing Workers’ Compensation workers in Canada came together to act upon systemic concerns. 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 need to join injured workers in their fight for legislative fairness. The group is also seeking public support to address crushing workload and lack of staffing and security issues which directly impacts both the quality and timeliness of services received by injured workers.
The group has a shared vision 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.
Nova Scotia Government General Employees WCB Union President Tony Bremner said, “the bottom line is that people have the right to employment that is free of injury and illness”.
CUPE 1750 President Harry Goslin of Ontario said, “It should be a right not a privilege for Workers to be fully compensated if they are injured or become ill due to their work. Every system in Canada should make coverage mandatory for all employers in order to protect all workers! Most provinces with the exception of Ontario have a fully funded system.”
Sandra Wright, President of the Compensation Employees Union/NUPGE and host of the event said, “All Compensation Boards across Canada are spending millions in technology and we say it should be used to enhance fair and timely compensation to injured workers and improve their access to the system”.
The Workers’ Compensation Union Coalition (WCUC) is determined to improve the system by establishing minimum conditions for a comprehensive and fair workers’ compensation system that fairly recognizes the historic compromise, where workers gained the right to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault, in return for giving up the right to sue their employers.