Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG)

Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG)

October 30, 2013 14:34 ET

Sir William Meredith's Ghost "Rises From the Dead" on the 100th Anniversary of His Famous Report That Founded Ontario's Workers' Compensation System

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 30, 2013) - MEDIA ADVISORY: Thursday October 31, 2013

The day of ghosts and goblins is a fitting day to witness the ghost of former Ontario Chief Justice Sir William Meredith "rise from the dead." This Halloween marks the 100th anniversary of his 1913 report that founded Ontario's workers compensation system. Meredith's "ghost" will remind us about key principles he included in his 1913 report "Laws Relating to the Liability of Employers". Meredith's words are part of a 3-day international conference in Toronto, to evaluate workers compensation 100 years after Meredith.

LOCATION: St. James Cemetery & Crematorium, 635 Parliament Street at Bloor, Toronto (the grave is in the northeast corner of the cemetery near Bloor/Rosedale Valley road overpass)

TIME: 1:40 pm

The gravesite gathering is part of a history bus tour that will visit Meredith's former Rosedale home and a few other key locations. The bus tour ends with a Hallow's Eve dinner at Osgoode Hall where Meredith wrote his final Report. The keynote speaker at dinner is Professor Katherine Lippel, Canada's Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. Friday, November 1 and Saturday November 2 activities continue at the Ontario Federation of Labour, 15 Gervais Drive in Toronto.

Speakers from across Canada will join with injured workers, academics, unions, and other organizations at the conference to compare today's compensation system with the system created from Meredith's vision 100 years ago. According to Meredith, the true aim of compensation law was "to provide for the workman and his dependents and prevent their becoming a charge upon their relatives or friends, or the community at large." He identified six basic principles for a compassionate compensation system, based on what has come to be known as the "historic compromise." This meant that workers would give up their right to sue their employers in exchange for income security in the event of a workplace injury. And employers would receive protection from loss of their business while paying for the system as a cost of carrying out that business.

However, over the last hundred years, workers compensation has become more "insurance-like" in nature and it is debatable whether Meredith's principles still exist or whether the founding principles have died along with him. The conference will provide opportunities to discuss and evaluate the extent to which Meredith's vision can be re-incorporated into a workers' compensation system that provides justice and dignity to injured workers in 2013.

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