In Thunder Bay they gathered at MPP Bill Mauro's office for
the provincial Day of Action. Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers' Support
Group spokesman Steve Mantis says there are about 350,000 injured workers in
Ontario who have a permanent disability and with inflation and lacking benefits
many of them are falling into poverty. Somewhere between 50 and 80 per cent of
these workers are chronically unemployed as a result of their workplace injury.
Mantis says they wants the government to take action to give justice to injured
''So here, we saw the government give (themselves) a 25%
raise. And they gave injured workers 2.5%. We don't think that's fair. These
are people who have worked their lives, and need help now that they're disabled
and we would like to see that same 25% increase.''
Mantis says they see workers and families in crisis every
day with people losing their homes, families breaking up, and children
struggling as a result.
Injured workers in Windsor and across the province need
better compensation, protesters in front of the Workplace Safety and Insurance
Board building said Tuesday.
Carrying signs bearing messages such as End the Injustice,
about 35 people gathered at 2485 Ouellette Ave. to demand that the Ontario
government improve how it treats workers who've been injured on the job or
suffer an occupational disease.
"The government has been slow to respond," said Rolly
Marentette, chairman of the Injured Workers Coalition of CAW Local 444. "We're
saying that time is running out. We have to do something, because a lot of
injured workers now are facing a lot of poverty,"
To address the cost of living, the province increased
compensation for injured workers by 2.5 per cent in July. There will be further
increases of 2.5 per cent in January, and in January of 2009.
But Marentette said those increases are insufficient
compared to the rise of inflationa.
"It doesn't recognize the losses that we've had. There's
no way we can catch up at 2.5 per cent. It's impossible. We're always going to
be behind the 8-ball."
Marentette pointed out that the McGuinty government raised
MPP salaries by 25 per cent in December 2006. "What's fair for them should be
fair for injured workers," Marentette said.
Injured worker Tom Noble, 60, said it's especially
difficult for people like him during the holiday season. "I've got depression
and anxiety, I've got all kinds of problems," Noble said. "It's hard. Money
today, by the time I pay my bills, there ain't no money. And that's not the way
it should be."
Noble said he used to work for a forging company, and he
suffered job-related permanent back and neck injuries in 1976 and again in
1980. Since then, he said, it's been a constant struggle with the compensation
board to get coverage of living expenses as simple as proper