Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

August 17, 2011 10:00 ET

OCCUPATION: MISSISSAUGA, Minister Charles Sousa's Office-120 Lakeshore Road West, Units 1 & 2

Occupation Underway in SIX Ontario Cities as Injured Workers Forced to Take Desperate Measures

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - August 17, 2011) - Injured workers, pushed into poverty, fed up with broken promises, no prospects, and ever-worsening red tape, are now occupying MPP offices in Ottawa, Mississauga, Scarborough, Beamsville, London and Thunder Bay.

They are demanding the provincial government take immediate action to alleviate the grinding poverty forced on working people who, through no fault of their own, have suffered serious workplace injuries and health impairments. They are also warning all working people that if Tim Hudak is elected, they will be even more economically imperilled.

"After more than 15 years of Tory cuts followed by Liberal inaction, injured workers are sinking deeper into poverty," says OFL President Sid Ryan, who is at Tim Hudak's office in Beamsville. "Hudak has made it clear that his WSIB reforms will take more money out of the pockets of injured workers in order to serve the interests of employers."

Today's actions follow an eight-day hunger strike last month by a 70-year-old injured worker who put his health at great risk.

Injured workers are still trying to survive on almost 20% less than in 1996. Since the current government came to power, workers' compensation benefits have shrunk by 6.8% due to a lack of protection against the rising cost of living.

"How is it acceptable to beat up on people who can no longer defend themselves and who are sick, injured or dying from workplace exposure? What kind of society have we become that our government agencies can conduct themselves with such impunity?", asks OFL President Sid Ryan.

In addition to recovering cost-of-living increases, workers are taking particular aim at the practice of "deeming" that cuts their benefits based on the assumption they are employed, even when they are not.

"The Liberal government has pulled out all the stops to examine what it purports to be underfunding of the Workers' Compensation system but refuses to look at the underfunding of injured workers. Why is no one concerned about the actual people?", asks Ryan.

Occupations are now taking place at the following offices:
Tim Hudak 4961 King Street East, 2nd Floor, Unit M1
MPP Niagara West-Glanbrook Beamsville, ON LOR 1B0
Charles Sousa 120 Lakeshore Road West
Minister of Labour Units 1 & 2, Mississauga, ON L5H 1E8
The Honourable Dalton McGuinty 1795 Kilborn Avenue
Premier of Ontario Ottawa, ON K1H 6N1
Chris Bentley 11 Baseline Road East, Unit 8
Attorney General London, ON N6C 5Z8
Brad Duguid 1450 Midland Avenue, Suite 204
Minister of Energy Toronto, ON M1P 4Z8
Michael Gravelle 215 Van Norman Street, Suite 101
Minister, Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Thunder Bay, ON P7A 4B6

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