Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG)

Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG)

November 15, 2013 16:06 ET

How Far Must an Injured Worker Go to Get a Fair Hearing?

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 15, 2013) - That's the question being asked as 72 year-old injured worker, Jimmy Velgakis, began a hunger strike on Tuesday in front of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) head office in Toronto. Injured in 1991, Mr. Velgakis is still trying to get a fair decision based on the merits and justice of his case, for a back injury that has never resolved.

This is not the first time Mr. Velgakis has been driven to such measures. In July 2011, in the midst of a heat wave, Mr. Velgakis camped out front of the Workplace Safety & Appeals Tribunal, refusing to eat. His hunger strike ended on its eighth day when then WSIB Chair Steve Mahoney promised him a hearing and decision on the merits and justice of his case within three months. Mr. Velgakis never got that decision. Instead, the WSIB ruled that they did not have jurisdiction to review the decision, again leaving Mr. Velgakis with no benefits.

Two years later he is again refusing to eat, this time joined by his MPP Cheri DiNovo.

"Unfortunately we are seeing more and more injured workers driven to desperation by a compensation system that is not addressing their needs," said Catherine Fenech, Secretary of the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG). "Although we would never encourage any injured worker to risk their health in this way, we understand the frustration Mr. Velgakis feels and hope the WSIB will do the right thing, honouring their promise to him."

Contact Information

  • Michele McSweeney
    (905)577-3362

    Catherine Fenech
    (905)790-8198