Here we go again...

Every time the powers that be controlling the WSIB decide that they need to tackle the unfunded liability, who has to bare the brunt of the heavy lifting? Injured and ill workers have, for quite some time been characterized as malingering, a drain on the system. However, who has to account for the wasteful ill advised decisions the Board makes?
For instance when they decided to close down their Vocational Rehabilitation Department (their best), layoff many qualified and experienced vocational rehabilitations counsellors, only to help create a whole new industry of so called "Service Providers", contracted to perform the same duties the vocational rehabilitation counsellors had done in house, hire those vocational rehabilitation counsellors, and have a carte blanche grip on the WSIB's budget with their unique invoicing practice most private businesses can only wish for. Wow! That's a mouth full!
Over the years, I had many discussions with high level executives who just shook their heads in disbelief and disgust. There are other examples of wasteful spending that took place that would stack far higher than the notion that injured and ill workers are malingering!      
 
David Marshall was appointed as WSIB's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in January of 2010. His compensation package included a salary of $400,000.00 per year PLUS 20% bonus.
In a statement made to the Toronto Star on January 31, 2015,while many injured workers had their claims denied and many others struggled to get by on reduced benefits largely due to WSIB strategies at the time, Marshall stated: 
“The combination of fewer injuries, better return to work, better management of our investment fund and higher premiums than we need for day-to-day . . . we are well ahead of our schedule that the government has set in order to become fully funded (by 2027),”. 


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This only adds insult to injury, kind of like rubbing salt on an already very painful injury (pun intended).

I remember thinking at the time, where is that 20% coming from? Historically, commision earnings is usually an income structure that is applied for car sales, furniture, insurance sales, tupperware, beauty product sales persons, waiters and waitresses, etc., but not generally applicable to those in an executive position such as Marshall. That's what the $400K per year salary was for, not to line his pockets on the backs of injured and ill workers!

To some people, this might be considered 'old news', but I saw first-hand the thousands of injured workers who had their claims denied, benefits reduced or were forced back to work too early and causing their condition to get worse! For them, this isn't old news!   

As stated in their 2006 Annual Report, the WSIB's Vision was the "elimination of all workplace injuries and illnesses". The fact is, denying claims, doesn't equate to no injuries!

It's been a decade since Marshall's cost cutting measures. By all accounts, the unfunded liability has been reduced. At what cost? Are there in fact fewer injuries, or are there more claims being denied? We'll explore this and other important topics in the future. 

For now, we want to equip as many injured and ill workers with the tools and support they need to claim their benefits!

 

Joe