A new report suggests Ontario’s workers’ compensation system is interfering with medical care for injured workers, sometimes going against doctor’s orders.
At a press conference held this morning at Queen’s Park, the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups released Prescription Over-Ruled, a report on how the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board systemically ignores the advice of medical professionals.
The report confirms what advocates have heard for years, said the OFL’s secretary-treasurer Nancy Hutchinson.
“The WSIB system is more interested in clearing its case load than supporting workers who have been seriously injured on the job,” Hutchinson said. “These doctors are blowing the whistle on the WSIB’s punitive practice of deeming injured workers eligible to resume work when their treating physicians and medical professionals have clearly stated the opposite.”
Alongside Hutchinson at the press conference were Dr. Giorgio Ilacqua and Dr. Keith Klassen, two registered psychologists in Ontario who detailed their interactions with the WSIB. They alleged that injured workers are repeatedly re-victimized by the provincial compensation system.
“The red tape is tangling up legitimate claims and preventing injured workers from getting the coverage they need,” Ilacqua said. “Behind every claim is a real person with a family that has been turned upside down by a workplace injury — they deserve immediate and consistent care, not bureaucracy and red tape.”
The report made several recommendations, beginning with a formal investigation by the province’s ombudsman into the WSIB’s treatment of medical advice.
The WSIB said in a statement that it was not consulted when the OFL was putting together its report. However, it said it takes the responsibility to injured workers very seriously and that when a claim is filed, the WSIB will take steps to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the recommendations from the injured worker’s medical professionals.
“The WSIB has quality assurance programs to ensure the efficacy and quality of these services. There are significant safeguards in the system and stringent checks and balances,” the board added.
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