Poverty and the injured worker
Austerity and the race to the bottom - a recent 2012 report by the Ontario Common Front "Falling behind: Ontario’s Backslide into Widening Inequality, Growing Poverty and Cuts to Social Programs" starkly profiles the situation facing many, including the vulnerable injured worker.
In August 2013, the Liberal government released a consultation paper on a second Poverty Reduction Strategy. Among the questions being asked - who should it focus on? Feedback is due October 4, 2013. When the first Poverty Reduction Strategy was released in 2008, the injured workers community and labour rallied to remind the government how far injured workers had fallen behind, especially since the introduction of Bill 99. [CUPE News release, Dec. 11, 2008].
IWC Submission to the 2013 Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultations details how the WSIB austerity cuts bring additional harm and poverty to injured workers. Poverty reduction for injured workers means embracing a system that treats them with dignity and respect, and that truly seeks to support them through their workplace injuries or illnesses. A return to Meredith's founding principles is key to re-establishing a just compensation system that addresses injured workers' needs while also freeing up resources in health care and social assistance that can be used towards a broader poverty reduction goal.
Injured workers surveys
"ONIWG 2010 Injured Worker and Poverty Survey: Many losses, much hardship: the impact of work injury" (Mar. 2012)
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 approximately 300 injured workers with a permanent disability who answered the survey had full-time jobs when they were injured. After injury, only 9% were working in full-time jobs...
Additional 2010 Survey documents: Survey Preliminary results : report -- Appendices: A.Questionnaire (English) -- B.Questionnaire (en français) -- C.Survey primer -- D.Recruitment strategy -- E.Recruitment material
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:
"Poverty in Motion" / Feb. 2008 study by the Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers' Support Group.
Check ongoing academic and participatory research (including RAACWI projects) and precarious work, for more information on the economic and social impacts on Ontario workers .
Submissions on income security
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:
"Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers Support Group presentation" (Mar. 7, 2013) to the Peoples' Budget conversations
"IWC submission " (Aug. 2011) to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario
"IWC submission" to the Standing Committee on Social Policy (April 2009) re Bill 152 (Poverty Reduction Act, S.O. 2009, c.10)
"Bright Lights presentation" (Nov. 28, 2008) to the WCB Chair
- Council of Canadians with Disabilities - Disabling Poverty, Ensuring Citizenship (CURA)
- Poverty Free Ontario "pulling poverty out by the roots", an initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario
- Vibrant communities Canada : collaboration and community engagement resources for poverty reduction
- "Failing the homeless" ⁄ Street Health (2006). Report on homelessness and disability in Ontario. Workplace injuries played a role in becoming disabled for 57% of participants who worked and 46% had received worker's compensation benefits at some time. None of them were able to maintain ongoing benefits...