A disturbingly high number of transit operators are assaulted while on the job, but WorkSafeBC routinely denies compensation by claiming that it’s ‘part of the job.’
“More than 100 bus drivers are attacked every year in B.C.,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Joie Warnock. “Assaults are not part of the job. And it’s high time WorkSafeBC recognized that physically and mentally injured workers need and deserve compensation.”
Tana MacKay is a bus driver with Unifor’s Health and Safety Committee in Victoria. She advocates for injured workers and recently spoke at a government review of WorkSafeBC policies.
“I know bus drivers who have been beaten up and then, while still recovering are smothered by forms, paperwork and personal questions, which delays their claim,” she said. “The trauma of an assault can cause PTSD and other mental health problems, but WorkSafeBC frequently denies those claims.”
B.C. Transit has announced it will move forward with installing shields to separate drivers from the public on buses across the province by 2022. While safety barriers are a common feature on European buses, here in Canada, the only other transit authority to equip its buses with barriers is Toronto.
In 2015, federal politicians amended the criminal code to make it harder for judges to give light sentences to offenders who assault workers.
Unifor represents more than 4000 transit operators in Metro Vancouver. In Victoria, Local 333 represents 750 bus drivers, mechanics, maintenance and other workers at BC Transit operations.
If you live in B.C. and want to give your feedback re WorkSafeBC take the online questionnaire until July 19thhttps://feedback.engage.gov.bc.ca/714556?lang=en