CLC Statement on Injured Workers Day

Injured Workers Day is an important day that
commemorates the events of June 1st, 1983, when
thousands of injured workers came to Queen’s Park
in Toronto to speak against the government’s proposal
to eliminate the permanent disability pension. The
government listened and set aside the proposal.
The number of compensable injuries in Canada,
nearly one million Canadians per year from coast
to coast to coast, makes Canadians sadly aware of
the pain and suffering workers endure as a result
of workplace injuries. Unfortunately, far too many
workers are not receiving the care and services that
workers’ compensation was designed to provide.
There are discrepancies among the provinces and
territories. Worse yet, Workers’ Compensation Boards
are continuously bowing to corporate pressure to
make changes that are not benefi cial to workers.
However, the challenges faced by injured workers
are becoming more numerous. The current economic
crisis, for many injured workers, has created yet
another hardship on top of the daily battles they have
been waging to survive. Injured workers are facing
the disrespectful argument that they should have less
than full justice because there is an economic crisis.
Workers and injured workers did not bring about the
economic crisis. Workers’ compensation was created
to be a system of justice in good and bad economic
times. Employers are protected from lawsuits in good
economic times and bad. Injured workers must be
protected from poverty at all times as well.
The Canadian Labour Congress is calling for changes
and supporting efforts to have workers’ compensation
improved across Canada. The CLC and many of our
affi liates and labour councils have been working with
the Canadian Injured Workers Alliance (CIWA) for a
number of years to raise awareness of the problems
and serious diffi culties thousands of injured workers
face on a daily basis.
Workers do not go to work to be disabled
or killed on the job.
Today, in honour of the Injured Workers’ Day, and
every day on behalf of injured workers across the
country, the Canadian Labour Congress calls on
all provinces and territories to work with injured
workers, labour and employers to improve their
workers’ compensation systems.
Governments must ensure that changes to workers’
compensation include the following elements:
• Dignity, respect and justice must be the foundation for a
renewed workers’ compensation system;
• Every province and territory must ensure their workers’
compensation act complies with its stated purposes, to
truly assist and compensate all workers injured, made
sick and disabled at work;
• Each province and territory must have an act that has a
clear focus to assist workers with a permanent disability;
• Injured workers deserve a pension for life if workplace
injuries result in a disability for life;
• Injured workers deserve a full cost of living protection;
• Injured workers need real jobs and job security or full
The CLC is calling on our affi liates, federations of
labour and labour councils to work hand in hand
with injured workers’ groups across Canada on June
1st and throughout the year to pressure governments
in Canada to change workers’ compensation where it
has been clearly demonstrated that injured workers
and their families are not being treated with the
dignity and respect they are entitled.
There a number of steps which can and should be
• Invite the local injured workers’ group to join your local
labour council;
• On a yearly basis, develop an action plan on activities you
will undertake together with the local injured workers’
• Invite activists with the injured workers’ group to
participate in union training sessions and union days of
• Provide a space where injured workers can meet one
another, even if just over a cup of coffee;
• Provide support and services to your local injured
workers’ group, even something as simple as photocopy
• Encourage your WCB and health and safety activists to
join the injured workers’ group to help with mentoring
and strengthening community solidarity.
The road to justice for injured workers still stretches
far ahead, but working together, we can demand a
better workers’ compensation system, one that puts
the needs of injured workers fi rst and treats them
with the dignity, respect and justice that everyone of
us deserve.
Workers’ Compensation
Needs to Work for Workers