Over the years the stories of injured
workers, both on the job
and off, continue to astonish me.
We as workers in Ontario are entitled
to WSIB benefits yet when
an injury occurs at work the company deliberately
tries to deter us from collecting
benefits by either incorrectly filing a claim
or threatening the injured worker, scaring
them into coming back to work on light duty
when their medical practitioner has already
advised them to stay off work.
The company does this by telling the injured
worker that if they do not come back
to work and accept light duties then they
may not qualify for WSIB benefits. When an
injury occurs at work we are required to
have our doctors fill out a functional abilities
form (FAF). The key is to get this form
filled out correctly by your doctor. The WSIB
appeals specialist at CAW Local 222 advises
that doctors often support their patients in
the office but when the medical reports are
read, the doctor failed to put in writing the
necessary support to be off work. We are
only as strong as the doctor makes us in
these situations. When your FAF is filled out
and the doctor renders you only partially
disabled and you do not return to work your
claim may be denied.
Your claim may also be denied if there
is insufficient proof that the accident happened
at work. At this point the company
may refuse to accommodate you until you
can prove with a letter from your doctor that
you are 100 per cent capable of full duties.
Because your WSIB claim has been denied
the company will claim undue hardship
and say your injury didn’t happen at work
so they do not have to accommodate you.
Members have actually lost their jobs in the
past because of the above scenario and the
appeals procedure takes years, not months.
If you are out on an appeal for more than
two years you lose your seniority and no
longer work for Armada.
If you do injure yourself on the job be
sure to keep copies of all paperwork. Keep
copies for yourself and give copies to your
Union in case we have to fight on your behalf.
When you visit your doctor to have your
FAF filled out, be sure to mention that your
company has a history of using the system
against us to deny benefits and make sure
your doctor understands. If you feel you are
not capable and cannot immediately accept
light duties but after your condition changes
you will gladly accept light duties make
sure that the paperwork states this. It is not
advisable however to stay out longer than
necessary or against your doctor’s advice.
The reason for companies being so inconsiderate
and uncompassionate for injured
workers is strictly for one reason only.
Money! WSIB is an insurance much like
your home or auto insurance. The company
pays a premium each year in the hundreds
of thousands of dollars. The more claims
that go through, the higher the premiums
that the company pays.
Now this brings me to health and safety.
You would think that for this reason the
company would be
serious about health
and safety. But we
don’t even have a
full-time health and safety manager. Joint
health and safety meetings rarely happen on
a regular basis as per the Ministry of Labour
Employment Standards Act, even though we
have threatened with grievances and to call
the MOL to complain. For employees who
are injured outside work there are no disability
benefits available through work and
your only avenue is to file for employment
insurance disability benefits through the
But be careful and remember that if your
injury or disability lasts longer than two
years you lose your seniority and will be out
of a job. When I first entered the workforce
there were numerous stories of workers
using the system to sit at home and collect
benefits for injuries that didn’t happen at
work or the person’s injuries were not as
severe as was documented. Or so-called
injured workers worked elsewhere on the
side under the table while collecting benefits
(WSIB fraud). It is because of this past
exploitation and abuse of the system that today’s
workers are now paying the price and
being denied benefits which they deserve
and need. If you are considering to attempt
to cheat the system somehow in order to
stay home and collect benefits I highly recommend
against doing so.