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Worry over pending WSIB changes

By Randy Thoms Jun 1, 2023 | 1:45 PM

Janice Folk-Dawson, VP, Ontario Federation of Labour, May 31, 2023

Labour and injured workers groups are speaking out against potential changes to the Workers Safety and Insurance Board.

A consultant’s review of the appeal process suggests reducing the amount of time a worker can appeal a decision.

They now have six months. The report recommends reducing it to 30 days and using an online method to file the appeal.

Vice president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, Janice Folk-Dawson, calls it offensive.

“The current queue for legal representation through unions or legal clinics is months and months long. How are workers supposed to secure representation? They won’t. They’ll be forced to represent themselves. Despite the fact that many are precarious workers who may not have the capacity, they essentially will be forced to abandon their appeal,” says Folk-Dawson.

Maryth Yachnin, a lawyer for the Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario, says the move would stripe most people of their appeal rights.

“As legal clinics and as experts, we regularly don’t get WSIB letters for ten to 15 days. We would struggle to meet 30-day time limits,” says Yachnin.

“The suggestion that injured workers and survivors, often in the early stages of recovery from devastating workplace injuries or the deaths of their loved ones on the job, are able to find legal advice and file an appeal within 30 days is outrageous,” says Yachnin.

Yachnin notes that there are no time limits to appeals in several other provinces.

The report and its recommendations are now before the Ford government to consider.


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