A Long Dark Road, an Injured Worker’s Story – Some Responses

Eventually I began to get some responses, and only the Liberals responded.  

The response from the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne was short and follows,

“Thank you for your email regarding your personal situation. Your concerns are important to me.

I understand that staff from the Ministry of Labour will be responding to you directly. I trust that their response will help to provide some guidance in this matter.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Kathleen Wynne 
Premier of Ontario”
 

So I waited to see what each of the Ministers would say. The Minister of Health responded and it really makes one wonder why we have a Minister of Health.  There definitely is a sense of “not my mine to deal with,” and avoidance.  I believe you will see why I say that.  Below is the Minister of Health, the Honourable Deb Matthew’s response,

“Thank you for your letter to the Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, regarding your workplace injury and subsequent health care.  I’m very sorry to hear of your difficulties, and I appreciate the time you have taken to share your concerns. 

The Workers Safety and Insurance Board falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour, and I note that you have addressed your concerns to the Honourable Yasir Naqui, Minister.

Although the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provides funding for public hospitals through Local Health Integration Networks, the hospitals are independent corporations accountable to their own boards of directors.  As set out under the Public Hospitals Act and other legislation, the hospitals are directly responsible for their day-to-day management, including the quality of care provided to their patients.

If you have any questions about your care at either hospital, you might wish to contact:

Hamilton General Hospital                           Patient Relations Department

Attention Patient Relations                          St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

237 Barton Street East                                  Charlton Campus

Hamilton, ON L8L 2X2                                   50 Charlton Avenue East

(905) 521-2100, extension 75240             Hamilton, ON L8N 4A6

Fax: (905) 522-0825                                      (905) 522-1155, extension 33838

Patientrelations@hhsc.ca                             patientrelations@stjoes.ca 

The hospital administration can best discuss your care.

In Ontario, the profession of medicine is governed under The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) and the Medicine Act, 1991.  Under these acts, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is responsible for governing the practice of medicine and ensuring that physicians provide health services in a professional and ethical manner.

The CPSO’s statutory responsibilities include the investigation of complaints against its members and, where appropriate, disciplinary action.  I note that you have already filed a complaint with the CPSO.

Thank you again for writing.

Sincerely,

G. Oldford

Correspondence Services

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

My question would be why do we have a Ministry of Health if even they won’t deal with hospital corporations?  Do they not have any checks and balances that the Ministry is to safe guard? Is it true what a nurse told me years ago, that the government needs a certain number of deaths to maintain a balanced budget?  I believe it speaks volumes to the amount of corruption that is inherent in our health-care system.

The letter from the Minister of Labour was just as lame.  Here is the Minister of Labour’s response,

“Thank you for your correspondence regarding your dealings with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).  I am sorry to read about your difficulties.

The health and safety of workers in Ontario is one of my top priorities.  The Ministry of Labour is responsible for the legislative framework for workplace safety and insurance in Ontario.  The WSIB, as an independent decision-making body, is responsible for administering benefits and services in accordance with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA).  It would be inappropriate for me, as Minister of Labour, or ministry staff to intervene in individual cases.  I have forwarded a copy of your correspondence to Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer, Chair of the WSIB, for her consideration. 

As you are aware, final decisions of the WSIB may be appealed to the independent Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.  More information on how to deal with disputes is available from the WSIB at 1-800-387-0750 toll-free, on its website at www.wsib.on.ca, or directly from your case worker.

For assistance with your WSIB matters, you may wish to contact the independent Office of the Worker Advisor (OWA).  It provides free general information on workplace safety and insurance matters.  The OWA can also represent non-unionized workers in appeals of WSIB decisions.  For more information, individuals may visit its website at www.owa.gov.on.ca or call 1-800-435=8980 toll-free to locate the office service their area. 

I note from your correspondence that you have been in contact with the Ombudsman of Ontario.  If you have concerns about the services you have received from the WSIB, you may also want to contact the Fair Practices Commission (FPC).  It is the independent ombudsman for the WSIB.  It provides a neutral and confidential service to workers, employers and others who have complaints about service from the SEIB.  It can also look into individual complaints related to delays, communications, staff behaviour, or the fairness of the decision-making process.  The commission cannot make or change WSIB decisions or help with an appeal.  More information about the Fair Practices Commission is available at www.fairpractices.on.ca.  You can telephone the FPC at 416-603-3010 or 1-866-258-4383 toll-free. 

Another resource available to you in the Injured Worker Outreach Services (IWOS). It is a WSIB-funded program that provides assistance and support, free of charge, to injured workers and their families through offices across the province.  The Hamilton and District Injured Workers Group Inc. can be reached at 905-543-9090 or by email at hamiltoninjuredworkers@hdiwg.net

Each IWOS office is staffed with peer helpers, who are often injured workers themselves.  Peer helpers act as a support service to injured workers by providing information and advice on how to handle a WSIB claim.  They also inform injured workers about WSIB polices and procedures, and advise them about other resources available to help.  IWOS will make recommendations, as appropriate, for injured workers to seek specialized support from the Office of the Worker Adviser, Legal Aid, a health and safety association, or a health care or counselling professional. 

Thank you again for writing.

Sincerely,

Yasir Naqvi

Minister of Labour

c. Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer, Chair, WSIB

When I told my advocate about the response, he was in disbelief.  Yet this is how the Ontario government will treat injured workers.  I must however give the Liberals a bit of credit, they at least had the decency to answer, even if it was to add to the nonsense.  The PC and NDP party Labour Critics didn’t even bother to respond.  Neither did Mrs. Witmer from WSIB.  The biggest disappointment was from my MPP, NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath.  Her office refused to help or talk about what was happening when I called in December of 2011.  Ms. Horwath’s lack of response even to my letter is even a deeper demonstration about how uncaring and unprofessional our politicians are.

The government can waste billions on wasted energy plants and nag the issue to the point where the public no longer cares.  But to deal with the injured workers of this province, or any perceived corruptions within their government organizations, seems to be too frightening a concept for any of them to attempt. 

Of course even the CEO ArcelorMittal Dofasco didn’t respond to my letter, not one little peep!  Since my email to the Director of Human Resources in July, where I stated I would no longer be a willing victim of their treatment, ArcelorMittal Dofasco has been silent. They have refused to render a decision about severance.  Even a no would have given me the ability to leave and go after the Minister of Labour for severance after the fact.  It seems fairly obvious that bully tactics have become even more entrenched as the way of dealing with their injured workers at ArcelorMittal Dofasco.  Here are some articles from Ontario newspapers that will further demonstrate just how injured workers are treated!  Things have not changed much at Dofasco, even though they are no longer a Canadian owned corporation.

Advertisements

One thought on “A Long Dark Road, an Injured Worker’s Story – Some Responses

  1. Pingback: A Long Dark Road, an Injured Worker’s Story – A summary of events | A Long Dark Road, an Injured Worker's Story

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s