Monday, June 15, 2020


This episode (Part 6) in the Waterloo Region Record points out the disparities between the American and Canadian workman's compensation systems. In Canada workers basically have zero "rights" and are at the mercy of a bureaucratic, technical and slow system which insists that the burden of proof to show that their disease was work related is solely upon the workers themselves. Is it any wonder that sick workers either don't start the process or walk away in disgust with such a pro-employer system whose conflict of interest includes reducing employer premiums for that same compensation system. Large employers constantly lobby politicians and governments and sure as hell not to increase their costs.

The Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada claim that there are between 500-600 deaths per year in Canada from work-related disease. That in itself is exactly 500-600 deaths too many if those numbers were even accurate. In fact a recent University of Ottawa study puts the death toll closer to 8,000 deaths per year from occupational diseases in Canada. Shame on employers and governments and all their fellow travellors who both minimize and justify the alleged economic need for these unnecessary deaths.

There are U.S.-based trust funds set up after litigation to compensate employees of certain industries such as asbestos related industries. Even Canadian workers of those U.S. based companies can sometimes access those funds and one example is given of a Canadian worker of the Canadian International Paper Co. (a U.S. subsidiary?) in New Brunswick whose family filed a claim with a U.S. trust fund for employees suffering from mesothelioma (asbestos caused lung disease). This compensation/reparation was much quicker than any corresponding actions likely to have occurred by Canadian government agencies. This particular Canadian worker (Ambrose Casey) isn't even recorded as a work-related fatality from on the job exposure to asbestos. Again shame to both employers saving nickels by not reducing work exposures and shame on our governments who are in bed with those employers versus being on the side of workers and their rights to their health and lives.

The title of last Saturday's Record article is "Compensation system hides the real toll of industrial disease".

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