Unifor has launched the New 40 hour Compensation Course for Ontario Workers (from a worker’s perspective) in Port Elgin. The new course is designed to replace the OFL Level One & Level Two program that was previously delivered at the centre.
Workers’ Compensation in Canada had its beginnings in Ontario. Benefits to workers began in 1914 in exchange for their forfeiture of rights to sue their employer for negligence. There were five basic cornerstones to the original workers' compensation laws:
1. No-fault Compensation – workplace injuries are compensated regardless of fault.
2. Collective Liability –the cost of the compensation system is shared by employers.
3. Security of Payment – A fund established to guarantee that compensation monies will be available.
4. Exclusive Jurisdiction – All compensation claims are directed solely to the compensation board. The board is the decision maker.
5. Independent Board – The board is financially independent of government or any other special interest group.
The new course gives participants the tools and hands on experience needed to represent members when dealing with the compensation system. Participants learn about the history and evolution of workers' compensation. Prior to workers' compensation legislation, workplace accidents were dealt with entirely under the common law. In practice, this meant that workers could sue employers with a slight probability of success only if they could establish employer negligence.
Throughout the course, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) is discussed to give a clear understanding of what is mandatory under the compensation system. There is detailed discussion regarding the legal definition of accident as well as understanding what injuries/diseases are considered work-related. Participants actively utilize and learn how to properly complete all applicable forms required by the legislation. The Compensation Board’s legal tests that are applied in decision-making are examined and the Board’s Policies and administrative documents are explored. It is important that advocates talk the “Board’s Compensationese”.
At the end of the week, participants have a clear understanding of the statutory obligations of both workers (and employers) mandated by the WSIA.
For members interested in understanding and navigating through the compensation system – this course is a must! Sign up! Whether you’re a worker, a compensation advocate/compensation representative or in another leadership role, this is a course for you!
Sister Shirley Egan (Local 444) Compensation Representative - delivering the program to the participants in March 2019 at the Unifor Port Elgin Education Centre.
Thank you to all the participants, Shirley Egan - Local 444 and Monia Kosciejew -Local 1285 (DL’s) for all the hard work you have done.