Ontario Nurses’ Association says WSIB funds must go to injured workers, not employers’ pockets
February 16, 2022
TORONTO, February 16, 2022 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) says any “surplus” funds accumulated by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) must flow to Ontario’s injured workers, not to further line employers’ pockets.
ONA President Cathryn Hoy, RN says she is “angry” that the funds are not going to directly help injured workers. “First of all, there is no WSIB surplus. The Board has simply intentionally reduced its revenue from employer premiums after systematically reducing benefits payments from injured workers. Whatever funds the WSIB has deemed as surplus must be used to enhance benefits and payments to injured workers.”
Nurses and health-care professionals are among many essential workers who have been overwhelmingly burdened with workplace injuries during the pandemic – including COVID-19 infections, workplace violence, mental health injuries including PTSD, falls and much more. “The unfortunate reality is that WSIB injured worker benefits are a fraction of workers’ salaries and that is just plain wrong. I know of many ONA members who suffered a workplace injury, but rather than submit a WSIB claim, they used their sick time. This is a systemic issue that must be fixed.”
ONA has seen a large number of mental health injuries and claims with those suffering with post-COVID-19 symptoms. Less money in the general fund as a cost-saving measure for employers will continue to encourage the WSIB’s practices of poor decision-making at operations and appeals, and poorly investigating claims rather than remedying these chronic issues that act as barriers to recovery for many Ontarians.
“The WSIB must reinvest any money back to where it belongs: with injured workers. It is well past time for the WSIB to refocus its efforts to those who need it most, not giving further refunds to employers,” notes Hoy.
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.