On Monday, June 1, about 200 workers and workers’ advocates marched, biked and wheeled through the streets of Toronto to rally for better compensation and benefits for those who become injured while on the job.
According to the Toronto Star, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups, which organized the protest, states that the province’s policies for workplace injury benefits exclude too many people, and that said benefits are too low compared to the cost of living.
“Cost-cutting shouldn’t come off the backs of injured workers,” said Aidan MacDonald of the Injured Workers Consultants Community Legal Clinic.
Ontario currently has one of Canada’s lowest workplace injury coverage rates, with about 70% of people who are injured on the job qualifying for benefits. This excludes some 2 million workers, as some industries aren’t required by law to have workplace accident and injury insurance.
While Labour Minister Kevin Flynn told protesters the Ministry is mere months away from reforming its compensation system, it’s unclear what these reforms would entail — if they end up being made at all.
In 2013 alone, a stunning 3,007,300 workers were injured on the job. But what exactly causes workplace injury? Are some workers more prone to being injured while working than others?
To help answer these questions, the Ontario Ministry of Labour recently gave McMaster University $260,000 in funding to be put toward research into workplace injury.
According to the Hamilton Spectator, the ministry said this research will help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses by pinpointing potential risk factors among workers. McMaster University, one of 13 recipients of the ministry’s funding, will specifically study workplace injury among younger workers along with the impacts of mental-social forces on occupational injury and illness.
By identifying and addressing the psychological and social forces that make young workers more prone to becoming injured on the job, perhaps Ontario’s employers will be better-equipped to protecting their employees.