Injured Workers’ Day

…from Correen DiFlorio, Administrative Assistant, Injured Workers’ Consultants:

Injured Workers' Day

30th Anniversary of Injured Workers’ Day!

Saturday June 1st at 11:00 am

Queen’s Park – Ontario Legislature

The Vigil:  Injured Workers are not sleeping at night!

How can our elected representatives sleep?

 While many of us already know that this year marks the milestone 30th anniversary of Injured Workers’ Day, it’s perhaps less widely known that Injured Workers’ Day doesn’t begin and end with June 1st. For the past 7 years, the Women of Inspiration Injured Workers’ Group has organized an overnight vigil beginning at 4:00pm on May 31st at Queen’s Park (front of Queen’s Park under the big tree to the left of the front steps) as a way of kicking off the commemoration. It’s a great way for injured workers and their supporters to come together communally and get to know one another as we build our movement for justice. Below is an interview with Constanza Durán, who, with the Women of Inspiration, has helped organized the vigil since its inception.  Constanza is an injured worker advocate at Injured Workers’ Consultants Legal Clinic.

How and why did the vigil begin?  When did it first happen?

The Women of Inspiration group was created in 2004.  The first vigil was created in 2006 by the Women who all agreed at one of our meetings that they could not sleep at night because of the physical pain they experienced as well as all the worries they had.  Those worries were about their families, their children, their financial situation and their future and the future of their children.  The women felt if they were sleepless, if they were in pain, alone and feeling isolated in their homes at night, why not do this in public: show the government and the public that they are sleepless at night.  This is a call for awareness of their injuries and the problems workplace injuries can cause!  This is a call to ask for justice for injured workers!

 What is being planned for this year?  What time should people come down?

The Women are calling the vigil for 4pm on May 31.  Men, women, children, families, everybody come at anytime from 4pm on.  If it is raining, bring umbrellas, a tarp or whatever you need for protection from the rain.  If people plan to stay all night, bring a sleeping bag, or a warm blanket, a picnic or lawn chair, a flashlight, and if available a thermos with hot tea or coffee and some munchies for the night.  People don’t have to stay all night.  What is important is to be there for even just one hour to show support.

Who is invited? 

Everyone is invited! Whether you’re an injured worker, an ally of injured workers, a member of the Women of Inspiration, friends and families or just generally a supporter of social justice, all are welcome to join the vigil.

 What if someone cannot stay the whole night?

No problem, there’s no need to stay the whole night. There will be a group of us staying overnight, but many people just come join us for an hour or two. It always lifts our spirits to see new people show up at any point during the evening, so feel free to come for however long you can spare.

 What can people expect when they come down?

To provide/receive support and solidarity as well as to encounter a community of people suffering from workplace injuries and who have run into problems with the WSIB.   The McGuinty government appointed Mr. I. David Marshall as President of the WSIB three years ago with the purpose of reducing WSIB’s expenses.  Rather then raising employers’ rates he has been reducing and squeezing injured workers out of benefits.

What support has the vigil gotten so far?

So far we’ve received generous support from OPSEU Local 525, as well as the OPSEU Region 5 Women’s Committee. We’ve also always gotten great support from injured workers’ groups from across the GTA and around the province.  Last year we got support from UFCW; they provided us with amazing food done with a lot of love!  We expect more unions to help us this year.

 If someone wants to support it, financially or otherwise, who should they contact?

We’re always more than happy to accept any form of support! Whether it’s in the form of financial support, or food and materials to help keep us comfortable overnight, or just your moral support, you can contact us care of Injured Workers’ Consultants at 416-461-2411.

Injured Workers' Day Please also click here for a more detailed history of Injured Workers’ Day.

Ontario Court of Justice

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

Providing fair and accessible dispute resolution

From Yodit Edemariam, Staff Lawyer, Rexdale Community Legal Clinic…

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario have drafted a set of Common Rules which will govern the work of the SJTO. The Common Rules are intended to provide a consistent framework of procedures that will continue to evolve.

SJTO has now released draft versions of the Common Rules, the consequential amendments to the specific individual tribunal rules, and related new and revised practice directions for review and comment by members of the community; consultation from the public.

The deadline for feedback is June 15, 2013.

Rexdale Conflict Resolution Clinic

Rexdale Conflict Resolution ClinicAn integrated program of the Rexdale Community Hub, with Rexdale Community Legal Services and St. Stephen’s Conflict Mediation Services.

Please call and book an appointment to talk about your case or drop-in for free information and referral.

When: Last Monday of the Month, Upcoming 2013 Dates: May 27, June 24, July 29, August 26, September 30…

Time: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Where: Rexdale Community Hub (21 Panorama Court)

For more info, please call:

St. Stephen’s Mediation Services: 416-663-2733 ext 255
Jayne Mallin (Rexdale Legal Clinic) 416-741-5201 ext 225

Injured Workers’ Day

…from Aidan Macdonald, Community Legal Worker with the Injured Workers’ Consultants Community Legal Clinic:

Injured Workers' Day

30th Anniversary of Injured Workers’ Day!

Saturday June 1st at 11:00 am

Queen’s Park – Ontario Legislature

 Celebrate and call for justice for injured workers!

 Since 1983, injured workers and their allies have come together on June 1st to celebrate their achievements, and to invigorate the struggle for justice for injured workers. This year, we ask you to join us at Queen’s Park on Saturday June 1st to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Injured Workers’ Day, as we unite in our efforts to bring about a just compensation system that truly protects the rights of injured workers.

 The past year has seen the implementation of some of the most draconian changes to the workers’ compensation system since it was first established in 1915. As part of the broad trend of austerity and cutbacks to social programs, injured workers are facing significant cuts and denials to their benefits, and a rigid and inaccessible appeals system that undermines administrative justice.  Thus, instead of receiving financial security and support, injured workers are doomed to poverty.

 But in spite of these injustices, injured workers remain firm in their commitment to ensuring fair treatment for all current and future injured workers.  The struggle for a fair compensation system is a struggle that involves all workers in Ontario, and we will not allow the system to be dismantled before our eyes.

 Join us on June 1st as we celebrate the history and accomplishments of the injured workers’ movement, and send a clear message that we demand justice for injured workers and for all workers. 

Injured Workers' Day Please also click here for a more detailed history of Injured Workers’ Day.

Toronto’s Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) Replaces Community Start up & Maintenance Benefit

As of January 1, 2013, the provincial government ended the CSUMB (Community
Start Up and Maintenance Benefit). While the benefits provided through HSF are
not contained in law (and hence not enforceable / appealable the way CSUMB was),
Toronto’s benefits are comparable in other ways. Some of the old criteria to qualify
still apply. That is, you must provide proof of your need up to the maximum allowed
and demonstrate financial sustainability (eg. if rental arrears are paid off, can you afford
the monthly rent). But the previous requirement that someone must not have received
CSUMB in the last 24 months has been dropped. In the case of ODSP recipients, total
income and assets will also be taken into account when assessing eligibility.

Toronto’s HSF is available to those on OW and ODSP to assist with:
• housing start up costs (first and last month’s rent);
• rental arrears to maintain affordable housing;
• a benefit for furniture / household furnishings;
• assistance with utilities arrears or start up;
• assistance to those who are transitioning from homelessness or a long term
residence or prison.
The maximum allocations for arrears, last month’s rent, furnishings are as follows:
• $800 for singles / couples;
• $1,000 for families with adult dependants;
• $1,500 for families with children.

There is some room for discretion to be exercised by workers based on ‘hardship’.
Someone on ODSP must be referred by their ODSP worker to OW for assistance from
the HSF, while a person on OW simply needs to raise the issue with their worker.
While a negative decision can’t be appealed to the Social Benefits Tribunal, if someone
disagrees with a negative decision, it can be reviewed by the supervisor. A negative
decision by the supervisor will be reviewed by the local office manager, but the decision
of the manager is final.

Excerpt from article by
Melodie Mayson
Neighbourhood Legal Services

The New Social Security Tribunal (for EI, CPP and OAS Issues)

There is a new Social Security Tribunal (SST) which replaces the Board of Referees and Umpires in Employment Insurance (EI) matters and Review Tribunals and the Pension Appeals Board in Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) matters. The Social Security Tribunal came into effect on April 1, 2013.

Among many changes to the old appeal processes, the following are some of the most significant:

  • There will be a mandatory “reconsideration” step as a first level of review in EI matters, similar to the current reconsideration by the Minister in CPP and OAS matters.
  • All matters, at both levels of the SST, are to be heard by a single member. (Most appeal processes under the old system were heard by panels.)
  • The time limit for a second level appeal to the Appeal Division is 30 days for all appeals.
  • There is no automatic right to appeal to the next level. Appellants will have to ask for permission to appeal.
  • The SST reserves the right to choose which procedure to follow for its hearings.
  • The Tribunal may hold the “hearing” by way of: written questions and answers; video conference or teleconference; or, the personal appearance of the parties.
  • The SST is required to conduct proceedings as “informally and quickly” as possible and interpret the regulations so as to secure the “most expeditious and least expensive” determination of appeal and applications.

The new changes are cause for some concern about whether appellants will have fulsome, meaningful rights to appeal. The Rexdale Community Legal Clinic is keeping up to date with the changes and their implementation. The Clinic strongly advises that anyone looking to appeal EI, CPP or OAS decisions come to our office as early on in the process as possible so that we can give individualized, specific advice.

Excerpt from Clinic Resource Office Memo provided by Ann Schweighofer

What rights do workers have in relation to public holidays? | Your Legal Rights – Free Legal Information for People in Ontario – Family Law, Housing, Employment, Social Assistance, Wills

What rights do workers have in relation to public holidays? | Your Legal Rights – Free Legal Information for People in Ontario – Family Law, Housing, Employment, Social Assistance, Wills.