Poverty and the injured worker
ONIWG 2010 Injured Workers and Poverty Survey released:
"Many losses, much hardship: the impact of work injury"
To examine the perception among the injured worker community that more and more workers are facing poverty and to document those experiences, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) conducted a survey of people who have a permanent impairment from work.
In late 2010 and early 2011, we surveyed injured workers who answered written or online surveys. Over 300 injured workers volunteered to share their experiences, and 291 of those responses were used for this report.
Based on the experiences in the injured worker community, we expected to find a lot of unemployment and poverty, as well as a lot of bad health. And we did. Nearly 90% of the injured workers who answered the survey had full-time jobs when they were injured. After injury, only 9% were working in full-time jobs...
- Survey summary
- Survey fact sheet
- Survey Preliminary results : report
- Appendix A - Questionnaire (English)
- Appendix B - Questionnaire (en français)
- Appendix C - Survey primer
- Appendix D - Recruitment strategy
- Appendix E - Recruitment material
The financial effects of a work injury or disease on an injured worker and his/her family often compound the physical and psychological harm. The real value of compensation benefits has been eroded by successive legislation, policy and adjudication. And during an economic downturn, injured workers are among the most vulnerable as they clearly stated in a "Bright Lights Presentation to the WCB Chair" (Nov. 28, 2008). [read here]
The recent IWC submission (Aug. 2011) to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario addresses key issues of income security and the injured worker.
These two charts below (based on data from the ONIWG 2009 Poverty Survey) show the harsh economic reality that all too often follows a work-related injury:
For more information on the economic and social impacts read the Key Findings and Full Report of the 2009 Survey, and check ongoing academic and participatory research, including the current projects of the Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury (RAACWI) projects.
In 2008 the Ontario Liberal government introduced a new Poverty Reduction Strategy. In response, injured worker groups, advocates and labour unions have rallied to remind the government how far injured workers have fallen behind, especially since the introduction of Bill 99. [CUPE News release, Dec. 11, 2008].
"Injured workers 4 times more likely to be poor: report"
(CanadianHRReporter.com June 8, 2009)
In June 2011 the Toronto Star reported on what progress is being made ["Poverty reduction does make a difference"]
- "Poverty in Motion" / Feb. 2008 study by the Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers' Support Group
- "Failing the homeless" ⁄ Street Health (2006)
- Council of Canadians with Disabilities - Disabling Poverty, Ensuring Citizenship (CURA)
- 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
- Ontario Coalition for Social Justice