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.

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