Transcript: WSIB: Working for Injured Workers? | Dec 14, 2016

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, checkered white shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "WSIB: Working for injured workers? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says NO ONE GETS UP IN THE
MORNING EXPECTING TO FACE A
LIFE-CHANGING INJURY ON THE JOB.
BUT IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY IN THIS
PROVINCE, AND WHEN IT DOES, IT
CAN MEAN A VERY LONG ROAD TO
RECOVERY BEFORE GETTING BACK ON
THE JOB.
JOINING US NOW TO SHARE HIS STORY:
MIGUEL BARREIRA, A SKILLED
INDUSTRIAL WORKER, SIDELINED TWO
YEARS AGO WITH AN ANKLE INJURY.

Miguel is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with wavy white hair. He's wearing a black zip-up sweater.

Steve continues MIGUEL, WE WELCOME YOU HERE TO TVO.

Miguel says THANK YOU.

Steve says TELL US FOR
STARTERS, WHAT KIND OF WORK WERE
YOU DOING?

The caption changes to "Miguel Barreira. Injured worker."
Then, it changes again to "Hurt on the job."

Miguel says SO I WAS
ORGANIZING IN THE WAREHOUSE ALL
THE ITEMS, WHAT THEY CALL IT
LOGISTIC PROCESSOR.

Steve says LOGISTICS PROCESSOR.

Miguel says YEAH.

Steve says OKAY, GOOD.
AND HOW DID YOU INJURE YOURSELF?

Miguel says BECAUSE I
WAS ALSO A FORKLIFT TRAINER...

Steve says OH, YEAH.

Miguel says... I WENT
OUTSIDE TO GRAB A TRUCK TO HELP
SOMEBODY ELSE, AND WHEN I COME
OUT OF THE TRUCK, I TWIST MY
ANKLE AND I BROKE MY ANKLE.

Steve says YOU BROKE YOUR
ANKLE.

Miguel says THAT WAS
MY FIRST INJURY.

Steve says WHEN DID THAT
HAPPEN?

Miguel says THAT WAS
IN 2008.

Steve says EXCRUCIATING?

Miguel says TOTALLY.
THEY PUT ME IN A CAST, BUT I
WENT BACK TO WORK BECAUSE IT WAS
MY LEG, NOT MY BRAIN ANYWAYS.
SO I WENT BACK TO WORK AND I
KEEP WORKING UNTIL 2010, I HAVE
ANOTHER INJURY.
THEY PUT ME IN ANOTHER
DEPARTMENT, CABLE DEPARTMENT.
THEY ARE VERY BIG CABLES, THERE
ARE ABOUT 22 PAIRS IN THERE OF
CABLE, AND YOU HAVE TO CARRY IT
ON YOUR SHOULDER TO PUT IT
THROUGH THE MACHINE.

Steve says AND WHAT HAPPENED?

Miguel says ONE DAY
WHEN I WENT TO THE LOCKER, I PUT
MY TOOL BELT ON THE... ON MY
LOCKER, AND I HEARD A CRACK IN
MY SHOULDER AND THAT'S WHEN
EVERYTHING STARTED, ALL THE
NIGHTMARES.
I COULDN'T MOVE MY ARM.

Steve says WHAT HAPPENED?
WAS IT A SEPARATED SHOULDER OR WHAT?

Miguel says NO, IT WAS
A FROZEN SHOULDER.
IT WAS BROKEN A LITTLE BIT AND
IT WAS FROZEN.
I HAVE TENDINITIS AND BURSITIS,
WHICH IS LIKE A CRYSTAL IS
CREATED UNDER YOUR SHOULDERS AND
IT DOESN'T ALLOW YOU TO MOVE
YOUR ARMS.

Steve says OH, BOY.
LET'S GO BACK TO THE FIRST
INJURY.
AFTER YOU BROKE YOUR ANKLE, DID
YOU FILE WITH THE WORKPLACE
SAFETY...

Miguel says YES.
BUT I WENT BACK TO WORK THE SAME WEEK.

Steve says SO THERE WAS NO
COMPENSATION.
YOU WENT RIGHT BACK TO WORK?

Miguel says YES.
BECAUSE I DIDN'T MIND TO WORK IF
I'M EVEN INJURED, I DON'T MIND
TO WORK.
BUT THE PROGRAM AFTER, THEY SENT
ME BACK TO WORK AFTER MY
SHOULDER WAS BROKEN, THEY SENT
ME BACK TO WORK.

Steve says AFTER HOW LONG?

Miguel says EVEN...
TWO WEEKS.

Steve says TWO WEEKS LATER.
OKAY.

Miguel says EVEN THE
DOCTORS SAID BE CAREFUL WITH THE
LEFT ARM BECAUSE HE'S GOING TO
GO OVERUSE IT.
NOBODY LISTENED TO THAT, AND TWO
MONTHS LATER, I HAVE FROZEN
SHOULDER IN MY LEFT SHOULDERS.

Steve says SO YOU'VE GOT BOTH
SHOULDERS IN TROUBLE NOW.

Miguel says YES.
AND THE DOCTORS AND WSIB
DECLARED ME AS PERMANENT
DISABILITY IN BOTH SHOULDERS.

Steve says SO YOU COULD NOT
WORK AT ALL?

Miguel says NO.

Steve says DID YOU GET
COMPENSATION?

Miguel says YES.
THEY HELPED ME AT THE BEGINNING.
THEN THEY PUT ME ON MODIFIED
WORK, AND THE MODIFIED WORK, ONE
OF THOSE DAYS THEY PUT A
PALETTE IN FRONT OF MY STATION
AND I TWIST MY ANKLE AGAIN, THE
SAME ANKLE.

Steve says SAME ANKLE?
OH, MY GOODNESS.

Miguel says YEAH.
I HAVE ACTUALLY TWO SURGERIES IN
MY ANKLE ALREADY.
SO I HAVE MY SHOULDERS AND MY
ANKLE.

Steve says SO YOU CAN'T WORK AT
ALL NOW?

Miguel says WELL,
ACCORDING TO WSIB, YES.
ACCORDING TO THE DOCTORS, NOT.
BECAUSE I CANNOT DO ANY
REPETITIVE JOB, BUT THEY SEND ME
TO DO THAT.
AND WHEN I COMPLAIN, THEY SAY,
NO, THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE...
WSIB HAS SAID THAT YOU SHOULD GO
BACK TO WORK.

Steve says MIGUEL, HOW OLD ARE YOU?

Miguel says I'M 59.

Steve says HOW LONG HAVE YOU
WORKED?

Miguel says I WAS 11
YEARS OLD WHEN I STARTED
WORKING.

Steve says YOU WORKED YOUR
WHOLE LIFE, PRETTY MUCH.
STARTING IN ARGENTINA WHERE
YOU'RE FROM.

Miguel says YES, SIR.

Steve says AND NOW YOU CAN'T
WORK ANYMORE.

Miguel says NO.
WHATEVER YOU SEE ME IN THERE, I
CAN DO IT.
I DON'T MIND DOING ANY KIND OF
JOB THAT IT WON'T AFFECT ME, MY
PERSONAL LIFE, BECAUSE THE PAIN
IS EXCRUCIATING.
UNLESS YOU HAVE IT, YOU DON'T
KNOW HOW PAINFUL IT IS.

Steve says ARE YOU ON
PAINKILLERS RIGHT NOW?

Miguel says YES, I AM.
OXYCONTIN.

Steve says WHAT'S IT LIKE FOR
YOU NOT TO BE ABLE TO DO THE JOB
YOU WANT TO DO?

Miguel says WHEN I
WAS... I'M GOING TO TELL YOU A
COUPLE THINGS.
ONE, IN 2009, I CLIMBED THE CN
TOWER FOR THE UNITED WAY, MY
WORK, IT WAS 1,776 STEPS.

Steve says AND YOU WENT UP THEM ALL?

Miguel says I WENT ALL
OF THE WAY UP.
AND I DID IT FOR MY COMPANY.
I USED TO BE A BODY BUILDER.
BEFORE I HAD THE ACCIDENT, TO
WORK ON THE COMPANY'S CABLE
DEPARTMENT, YOU HAVE TO PASS A
TEST.
SO I PASSED THE TEST WITH 100 percent
WITH NO PROBLEM.
MY PHYSICAL WAS PERFECT.
BUT THEY STILL SAY THAT
PROBABLY, ACCORDING TO WSIB,
PROBABLY I HAD THE INJURY BEFORE
I WENT TO WORK.

Steve says WELL, MIGUEL, YOUR
CASE DOES RAISE A LOT OF
QUESTIONS, WHICH WE'RE GOING TO
GET INTO WITH FURTHER GUESTS.
I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR COMING
IN AND SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US.

Miguel says NO PROBLEM.

Steve says BEST OF LUCK.
I HOPE YOU FEEL BETTER.

Miguel says I WOULD
LIKE A LOT OF CHANGES ALSO IN WSIB.

Steve says WE'RE GOING TO TALK
ABOUT THAT.
THANK YOU, SIR.
NEXT WE'RE GOING TO GET INTO THE
PRACTICE AND POLICY OF HOW
INJURED WORKERS GET ASSISTANCE
IN ONTARIO.
WHILE WE GET OUR GUESTS SETTLED
IN FOR THAT, TAKE A LOOK AT THESE NUMBERS.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "WSIB CSPAAT, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board by the numbers, 2015."

Steve reads data from the slate and says THERE ARE 309,000 EMPLOYERS IN
ONTARIO WHO ARE ENROLLED IN THE WSIB.
THAT COVERS 5.3 MILLION WORKERS
IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO,
ACROSS 16 DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES.
LAST YEAR ALONE, THERE WERE
229,000 REGISTERED CLAIMS,
PAYING OUT MORE THAN
2.5 BILLION dollars IN BENEFITS LAST
YEAR ALONE.
ONTARIO HAS LONG BEEN A PIONEER
IN CANADA IN TERMS OF HELPING
INJURED WORKERS, LEADING THE WAY
MORE THAN A CENTURY AGO WITH THE
CREATION OF THE FIRST PROVINCIAL
BODY MANDATED TO HELP THOSE HURT
ON THE JOB.
IT WAS CALLED THE WORKMEN'S
COMPENSATION BOARD.
THAT SYSTEM IS NOW CALLED THE
WORKPLACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE
BOARD, AND JOINING US NOW TO
EXAMINE HOW WELL IT'S SERVING
TODAY'S WORKERS, WE WELCOME:
TOM TEAHEN PRESIDENT AND CEO AT WSIB...

Tom is in his sixties, clean-shaven, with side-parted short gray hair. He's wearing a black suit, blue shirt, and checked red tie.

Steve continues MARYTH YACHNIN, STAFF LAWYER,
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT VICTIMS
GROUP OF ONTARIO COMMUNITY LEGAL CLINIC; THAT IS A MOUTHFUL...

Maryth is in her thirties, with long wavy auburn hair. She's wearing a black blazer over a pink shirt.

Steve continues GARY NEWHOUSE A LAWYER WHO DEALS WITH
WITH WORKERS' COMPENSATION CASES...

Gary is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, burgundy shirt, and brown tie.

Steve continues AND DAVID NEWBERRY, ADVOCATE AT
THE INJURED WORKERS' CONSULTANTS
COMMUNITY LEGAL CLINIC...

David is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray shirt, and a red scarf.

Steve continues ALSO A BIT OF... YOU TWO HAVE TO
WORK ON YOUR TITLES.
A BIT TOO LONG.
FIRST OF ALL, THANKS, EVERYBODY,
FOR COMING IN TONIGHT FOR THIS
DISCUSSION.
MARYTH, WE JUST HEARD ONE
EXAMPLE OF ONE PERSON'S
SITUATION, BEING INJURED AND
WORKING IN THIS PROVINCE.
HOW TYPICAL IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Maryth Yachnin. IAVGO Community Legal Clinic."
Then, it changes again to "When you get hurt."

Maryth says UNFORTUNATELY, STEVE, MIGUEL'S
STORY IS REALLY TYPICAL.
SO WHAT HAPPENED TO MIGUEL IS HE
SUFFERED AN INJURY ON THE JOB
AND HE WAS PRESSURED TO RETURN
TO WORK IN A JOB THAT WASN'T
SAFE AND ULTIMATELY HE COULDN'T
DO IT.

Steve says PRESSURED, DO YOU
THINK, BY WHOM?

Maryth says BY THE WSIB
TELLING HIM HE SHOULD DO IT.
WHEN HE COULDN'T DO IT, AND HE
TRIED AND HE TRIED TO KEEP
RETURNING TO WORK AFTER SO MANY
YEARS OF SERVICE, THE BOARD SAID
TO HIM, THAT'S YOUR FAULT.
YOU'VE DECIDED NOT TO COOPERATE
IN YOUR RETURN TO WORK SO YOU
WON'T GET BENEFITS ANYMORE AND
THEY CUT HIS BENEFITS AND AS A
RESULT MIGUEL HAS BEEN FORCED TO
RELY, AFTER A LIFETIME OF
WORKING, ON DISABILITY SUPPORT,
ON WELFARE.

Steve says YOU THINK THE BOARD
IS THE BAD GUY?

Maryth says THE BOARD
IS NOT LISTENING TO MIGUEL AND
HIS DOCTORS, AND ONE THING
MIGUEL DIDN'T MENTION BUT I KNOW
IT HAS BEEN A REAL STRUGGLE FOR
HIM IS THE IMPACT OF THE
WORKPLACE INJURY ON HIS MENTAL
HEALTH AND DEPRESSION AND
ANXIETY.

Steve says HOLD THAT THOUGHT.
WE'RE GOING TO GET TO THAT AS WE
GO THROUGH.
LET ME GET THE SCENE SET.
GARY, HOW ABOUT IT?
YOU HEARD MIGUEL'S STORY.
HOW TYPICAL?

The caption changes to "Gary Newhouse. Workers' Compensation Lawyer."

Gary says VERY TYPICAL.
I'VE BEEN REPRESENTED WORKERS AS
A LAWSUIT AND NOW AS A LAWYER
FOR 40 YEARS AND OVER THE 40
YEARS IT'S THE SAME STORY AGAIN
AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.
WHAT'S PARTICULARLY TYPICAL,
WHAT I FOUND INTERESTING WAS HE,
YOU KNOW, THE FIRST INJURY
HAPPENS, HE'S OFF A LITTLE BIT.
HE GOES BACK TO WORK.
AND MANY INJURED WORKERS HAVE
HAD MANY, MANY INJURIES, BUT
THEN AT SOME POINT ALONG THE
WAY, THEY GO BACK, THEY GO BACK,
THEY GO BACK.
AND THEN THE LAST ONE, YOU KNOW,
BREAKS THE CAMEL'S BACK KIND OF
THING AND NOW THEY CAN'T WORK AT
ALL.
AND USUALLY IT'S REALLY AN
ACCUMULATION OF DIFFERENT... IN
HIS CASE, HE HAS TWO SHOULDER
PROBLEMS AND AN ANKLE PROBLEM.
YOU END UP PRETTY MUCH A BASKET
CASE FROM A PHYSICAL POINT OF
VIEW, AND THAT'S VERY TYPICAL.

Steve says EMOTIONALLY AS WELL,
WHICH WE'LL GO INTO LATER AS WELL.
DAVID, HOW DO YOU SEE IT?

The caption changes to "David Newberry. Injured Workers' Consultants Community Legal Clinic."

David says I SEE IT AS
DEFINITELY A TYPICAL SCENARIO,
PARTICULARLY THE THING THAT
STARTS TO CONCERN ME IS WHEN THE
DOCTORS HAVE COME FORWARD AND
SAID, YOU KNOW, WE DON'T THINK
THIS PERSON IS READY TO GO BACK
TO WORK, WE DON'T THINK THAT
THEIR HEALTH IS AT SUCH A LEVEL
THAT'S GOING TO ALLOW THAT.
ONE THING, AS ADVOCATES, WE TEND
TO SEE DIFFICULT CASES.
BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT GOT
US TO PUT FORWARD THE REPORT
THAT I THINK WE'RE GOING TO TALK
ABOUT TODAY IS THAT A NUMBER OF
HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
STARTED TO COME FORWARD AND SAY
WE'RE SEEING THIS ALL THE TIME
AS WELL.
AND THAT'S WHEN WE STARTED KIND
OF FLAGGED FOR US, YOU KNOW,
MAYBE THIS ISN'T JUST US.
MAYBE THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT IS
SYSTEM-WIDE AND THAT WE NEED TO
TRY TO DRAW SOME ATTENTION TO.

Steve says I'VE OBVIOUSLY LEFT
YOU FOR LAST BECAUSE I WANTED
YOU TO HAVE A CHANCE TO HEAR ALL
THIS.
THANKS FOR COMING IN BECAUSE
YOU'VE SORT OF COME INTO THE
LION'S DEN.

Tom says IT'S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY.

Steve says START US BROAD-BASED
BY TELLING US WHAT IS THE WSIB'S MISSION?

The caption changes to "Tom Teahen. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board."

Tom says THE WSIB'S
MISSION IS TO HELP WORKERS WITH
COMPENSATION WHEN THEY NEED IT
AND, IMPORTANTLY, TO HELP THEM
IN THEIR RECOVERY AND RETURN TO
WORK.
AND ON THAT MEASURE, THE LEAD IN
TO YOUR SHOW, I LOOKED AT THE
LAST COUPLE OF DAYS, ARE WE
MEETING OUR MISSION?
ON THE MEASURE OF MEETING OUR
MISSION TO HELP WORKERS RECOVER
AND GET BACK TO WORK, I THINK
WE'RE PERFORMING BETTER THAN
WE'VE EVER PERFORMED.

Steve says HOW DO YOU KNOW
THAT?

Tom says TODAY, 92 percent OF
WORKERS ARE BACK TO WORK WITHOUT
ANY WAGE LOSS WITHIN A YEAR.
I THINK MIGUEL'S CASE, AND I
DON'T KNOW THE DETAILS, I CAN'T
EVEN COMMENT ON THE DETAILS OF
HIS SPECIFIC CASE, BUT I THINK,
YOU KNOW, THE OTHER FOLKS THAT
ARE HERE, THEY DEAL WITH CASES
LIKE MIGUEL ALL THE TIME.
WHAT I DO KNOW IS THAT 92 percent OF
THE CASES THAT COME INTO THE
WSIB, WE ARE GETTING WORKERS
BACK TO WORK SUCCESSFULLY
WITHOUT ANY WAGE LOSS, AND
THAT'S THE IMPORTANT PART OF OUR
MISSION.
SO THE REALLY IMPORTANT THING
FOR ME AS PRESIDENT AND FOR THE
ENTIRE ORGANIZATION IS, HOW DO
WE... WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO
WORK WITH FOLKS LIKE WE HAVE
HERE TODAY TO MAKE THAT RESULT
BETTER FOR THE OTHER 8 percent, BECAUSE
THAT'S OUR FOCUS AND THAT'S WHAT
I'VE TALKED TO THESE FOLKS ABOUT
BEFORE.
HOW DO WE ADDRESS AND ACHIEVE
THAT SAME SUCCESS FOR THAT OTHER
8 percent?

Steve says LET'S JUST PICK THAT
NUMBER APART.
MARYTH, 92 percent BY ANY STRETCH IS A
PRETTY GOOD NUMBER.
SO WHAT'S THE ISSUE HERE?

Maryth says THERE'S A
LOT GOING ON HERE.
THE BOARD LIKES TO TALK ABOUT
THIS 92 percent NUMBER.
THE FIRST THING IS MOST PEOPLE
ON THE JOB RECOVER AND GO BACK
TO THEIR JOB.
THEY'RE NOT THE ONES THAT ARE
MOST VULNERABLE, THEY'RE NOT
SUFFERING THE PERMANENT INJURY.

Steve says YOU DON'T QUIBBLE
WITH THE 92 percent?

Maryth says WE DO.
WE HAVE TRIED TIME AND AGAIN TO
GET A STRAIGHT ANSWER AS TO
WHETHER THE WSIB IS TRACKING
ACTUAL RETURN TO WORK OR WHETHER
THEY ENTER INTO THEIR COMPUTERS,
PERSON CAN RETURN TO WORK, NO
LOSS OF EARNINGS.
WE'D LIKE AN ANSWER.
WE KNOW IN THE CASE OF WORKERS
PERMANENTLY INJURED AND THEN PUT
THROUGH RETRAINING AND TOLD THEY
CAN WORK, THAT THE BOARD TAKES
NO EFFORT TO ACTUALLY TRACK
WHETHER THEY ARE BACK AT WORK.
ALL THEY TRACK IS THE FACT THAT
THEY COMPLETED THE TRAINING
PROGRAM AND THE BOARD SAID THEY
COULD FIND A JOB.

Steve says OLD ON THERE.
IS THAT CONTRA THE?

Tom says NOT ACCURATE.
AND MARYTH KNOWS... IN FACT, SHE
WAS IN MY OFFICE WITH A GROUP OF
INJURED WORKERS THREE OR FOUR
WEEKS AGO OR A MONTH AGO,
BECAUSE I MAKE IT A HABIT OF
MEETING WITH WORKERS FROM, YOU
KNOW, WORKERS THAT MARYTH
REPRESENTS, WORKERS THAT DAVID
REPRESENTS, I'VE GONE TO THEIR
CLINICS.
IT'S A TRUE NUMBER.
IT TRACKS THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE
WHO ARE ACTUALLY BACK WITH THEIR
EMPLOYER OR WITH AN EMPLOYER
WITHIN 12 MONTHS WORKING.

Steve says IT'S NOT JUST THAT YOU'VE...

[MIXED VOICES]

Tom says I KNOW THEY'RE
BACK AT WORK.
WHAT I WANT TO TURN THIS
CONVERSATION TOO IS WHAT ARE WE
GOING TO DO ABOUT THE OTHER 8 percent?
I AGREE, 8 percent IS A LOT OF WORKERS
WHO AREN'T ACHIEVING THE SUCCESS
THAT WE WANT THEM TO ACHIEVE AND
THAT'S... YOU KNOW, THAT'S OUR
RESPONSIBILITY TOO, NO QUESTION
ABOUT THAT.
YOU KNOW, MIGUEL, WITHOUT
GETTING INTO THE DETAILS OF HIS
CASE, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE
CHALLENGES IN SOME OF THE
TOUGHEST CASES, AND THAT'S
WHAT... THAT'S WHAT OUR PROGRAMS
ARE FOCUSED ON TRYING TO DO, IS
HOW DO WE HELP THOSE WORKERS
ACHIEVE THE SAME SUCCESS THAT
WE'RE ACHIEVING OTHERWISE?

Steve says GARY, DO YOU HAVE
ANY REASON TO BE SUSPICIOUS OF
THIS 92 percent NUMBER?

Gary says OF COURSE.

Steve says WHY?

Gary says WELL, I
MEAN, THE BOARD'S STATISTICS IN
GENERAL TEND TO BE HARD TO
DISCOVER.
I WRITE A TEXT BOOK AND PART OF
THAT INVOLVES PUTTING IN SOME
FIGURES AND IT'S HARDER AND
HARDER TO GET THESE STATISTICS.
I THINK THERE'S A REASON FOR
THAT.
BECAUSE, I MEAN, STATISTICS CAN
ALWAYS BE EASILY MANIPULATED,
BUT IT'S BETTER AS AN
ORGANIZATION JUST TO PRESENT THE
ONES THAT YOU WANT TO PRESENT
AND THEN THE ONES THAT MAYBE YOU
HAVE TO PRESENT BECAUSE WHEN
MARYTH TALKS ABOUT GETTING
INFORMATION, THEY'RE BRINGING AT
HER CLINIC FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION REQUESTS, NOT JUST
SOMETHING THAT'S READILY
AVAILABLE TO SOME NORMAL PERSON
WHO WANTS TO GO ON THE WSIB
WEBSITE AND THEY CAN SEE THESE
FIGURES.
THOSE AREN'T THERE.
SO THEY'RE BURIED.
AND I WOULD SUGGEST THAT THEY'RE
BURIED FOR A REASON.
THAT'S, YOU KNOW, THE FIRST
POINT.
THE SECOND POINT IS 92 percent IS JUST
A KIND OF MEANINGLESS NUMBER IN
THE ABSTRACT.
IF YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT
PERCENTAGE OF THAT 92 percent WERE
PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T LOSE ANY TIME
AT ALL VERSUS THOSE WHO HAVE
SIGNIFICANT PERMANENT
IMPAIRMENTS.
BECAUSE THE REAL PROBLEM IS NOT
WITH THE, YOU KNOW, NO TIME LOSS
INJURY.
OF COURSE THEY'RE BACK AT WORK.
SOMETIMES THEY GET MEDICAL AID
SO IT COUNTS AS A CLAIM BUT
THEY'RE NOT OFF.
THERE'S NO TIME OFF WHATSOEVER.
SO OF COURSE THEY'RE BACK AT
WORK.
THEY NEVER LEFT WORK.
THEY GOT SOME FIRST AID.
THEY'RE DONE.
BUT THE PERMANENTLY INJURED
WORKER WHO CAN'T GET BACK TO
WORK WHO IS OFF, YOU KNOW, FOR
LONGER AND LONGER PERIODS OF
TIME, IT GETS HARDER AND HARDER
FOR THAT WORKER TO, YOU KNOW,
CONTINUE TO RECEIVE L.O.E. BENEFITS.

Steve says L.O.E.?

Gary says LOSS OF
EARNINGS BENEFITS, YOUR BASIC
INCOME REPLACEMENT BENEFIT.

Steve says I WANT TO GIVE YOU A
CHANCE TO SPEAK TO THAT.
GO AHEAD.

Tom says THE 92 percent IS A
REAL NUMBER IN TERMS OF LOSS
TIME INJURIES.
GARY MENTIONED THERE ARE CERTAIN
KINDS OF CASES THAT ARE NO LOST
TIME.
SO YOU DON'T GO OFF WORK, YOU
DON'T LOSE ANY TIME, BUT WE PAY
HEALTH CARE BENEFITS BECAUSE YOU
MIGHT NEED TO SEE A PHYSIO, FOR
EXAMPLE, TO CONTINUE TO HELP YOU
IN YOUR RECOVERY.
THAT 92 percent DOESN'T INCLUDE THOSE
CASES.
WE CAN DEBATE THE 92 percent.
MARYTH, I KNOW, DOESN'T LIKE THE
92 percent, NOR DOES GARY, BUT I CAN
TELL YOU IT'S A REAL NUMBER.
I GUESS MORE IMPORTANTLY WHAT I
WANT TO SAY IS HOW DO WE DEAL
WITH THOSE WHO AREN'T IN THE
92 percent?
I KNOW THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT
NEED OUR ATTENTION.

Steve says LET ME PICK UP ON
THAT THEN.
LET'S HUMOUR HIM.
LET'S TAKE HIS 92 percent.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THE OTHER 8 percent
WHO ARE IN MUCH MORE PERSISTENT
AND DIFFICULT CONDITIONS?

David says THAT'S AN
ABSOLUTELY GREAT QUESTION.
I THINK THAT WE NEED TO LOOK AT
THE RETURN-TO-WORK PROGRAMS THAT
EXIST AND LOOK AT THE BENEFITS
OF THOSE OTHER 8 percent.
I MEAN, I THINK THERE IS REASON
TO KIND OF QUIBBLE ABOUT THAT
PARTICULAR NUMBER, BUT OBVIOUSLY
WE CAN'T SPEND THE HOUR ON IT.
WE DON'T KNOW ALSO, FOR EXAMPLE,
WHAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO
RETURN TO WORK AND THEN WHAT
HAPPENS TO THEM 6 MONTHS LATER?
SO AFTER WHATEVER BOX IS BEING
CHECKED THAT IS BEING TALKED
ABOUT, SIX MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD
WE DON'T KNOW IF THAT WORKER IS
STILL OFF THE JOB, IF THEY DON'T
HAVE REDUCED HOURS.
THE BOARD DOESN'T HAVE
INFORMATION ON THOSE PEOPLE
AFTER THEY RETURN TO WORK AND
AFTER THE FILE IS CLOSED.
THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE A CONCERN
AS WELL TO ACCURATELY TRACK THE
SUCCESS OF THE PROGRAMS.

Steve says LET ME LOOK AT THIS
FROM ANOTHER ANGLE.
I'M NOT MAKING ANY ALLEGATIONS
HERE AND I HAVE NOTHING BUT
ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE SO LET'S
ESTABLISH THAT OFF THE TOP.
ARE THERE PEOPLE WHO ARE EITHER
FAKING INJURY OR NOT AS INJURED
AS THEY SAY IN ORDER TO NOT GO
TO WORK AND JUST GET THE CLAIM?

Tom says YOU KNOW,
HONESTLY, STEVE, I THINK
THAT'S... IT'S A BIT OF A RED
HERRING, THE ARGUMENT.
I WANT TO MAKE VERY CLEAR TO
PEOPLE LISTENING, I'M NOT
WORRIED ABOUT IN THIS DISCUSSION
THAT WE'RE TRYING TO... OR THAT
WE'RE NOT FOCUSING ON OUR
PROGRAM OF RETURN TO WORK AND
RECOVERY BECAUSE... AND IT'S NOT
SET UP BASED ON A FEAR THAT
THERE'S RAMPANT, YOU KNOW,
MISUSE OR FRAUD...

Steve says MAYBE YOU'RE NOT
AFRAID OF IT BUT BUSINESSES, OF
COURSE, WOULD BE, BECAUSE THEIR
PREMIUMS ARE TOO HIGH BECAUSE
TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE GETTING IT
WHEN THEY SHOULDN'T.

Tom says WE HAVE
PROGRAMS SET UP IN CASES WHERE
WE MIGHT FIND CERTAIN ANOMALIES
IN A CASE, WE HAVE WAYS TO DEAL
WITH THOSE.
THAT IS BY NO STRETCH OF THE
IMAGINATION THE VAST MAJORITY OF
CASES.
THE VAST MAJORITY ARE JUST LIKE
MIGUEL.
HE SAID HE WANTED TO GO BACK TO
WORK.
THAT'S WHY HE GOT BACK TO WORK
THE FIRST TIME.
THE REALITY IS, THE FIRST THING
WE HEAR FROM MOST WORKERS WHEN
THEY GET INJURED, AND IT'S WHY
OUR RETURN-TO-WORK PROGRAM IS SO
IMPORTANT AND WHY OUR RENEWED
FOCUS ON RETURN TO WORK IS SO
IMPORTANT, WHEN A WORKER GETS
INJURED, ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS
WE HEAR IS THE ANXIETY THEY FEEL
ABOUT HOW WILL THEY EVER GET
BACK TO WORK AND EARN A LIVING
FOR THEIR FAMILIES OR FOR
THEMSELVES?
AND SO I BELIEVE AND THE PEOPLE
WHO WORK AT THE WSIB BELIEVE,
IT'S OUR JOB TO HELP THEM IN
THEIR RECOVERY AND THEIR RETURN
TO WORK AS QUICKLY AND AS SAFELY
AS WE POSSIBLY CAN.
NOW, DO WE GET IT RIGHT EVERY
TIME? NO.
BUT THAT IS WHAT OUR PROGRAM IS
DESIGNED TO DO.

Steve says MARYTH, I KNOW YOU
WANT TO WEIGH IN.
BUT SHOULD WE BE, AS OUTSIDE
OBSERVERS, SHOULD WE BE
CONCERNED THAT THERE IS ABUSE OF
THE WCB SYSTEM?

The caption changes to "Maryth Yachnin, @IAVGO."

Maryth says THE ANSWER
IS PRETTY MUCH NO AND I
APPRECIATE TOM SAYING THAT'S THE
CASE.
THERE IS VERY LITTLE FRAUD IN
THE SYSTEM.
I THINK WHAT IS TROUBLING TO US
AND WHAT WE SEE ON THE GROUND IS
THAT EVEN THOUGH WORKERS ARE NOT
BEING FRAUDULENT, THEY ARE MADE
TO FEEL BY THE WSIB'S POLICIES
AND PRACTICES AS IF THEY ARE
INTENTIONALLY NOT COOPERATING,
AS IF THEY ARE FAKING, AS IF
THEIR BODIES ARE BROKEN.

Steve says HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram."

Maryth says WE KNOW
THAT BECAUSE WE SEE THE CASES
DAY TO DAY.
FOR EXAMPLE, A WORKER WHO HAS A
BACK STRAIN AT WORK, AND THEY
ARE EXPECTED TO RECOVER WITHIN 3
MONTHS AND THE BOARD SAYS,
LISTEN, YOU'RE GOING TO BE
BETTER IN 3 MONTHS.
BUT THEY DON'T GET BETTER.
AND THEY TRY TO RETURN TO WORK
BUT THEY CAN'T, AND THEY WERE,
BEFORE, LIKE MIGUEL, BEFORE THE
INJURY THEY WERE CLIMBING THE
C.N. TOWER.
AFTER THE INJURY THEY'RE JUST
NOT GETTING BETTER.
AND THEN THE BOARD SAYS TO THEM,
LISTEN, FOR ONE YOU'RE NOT
COOPERATING.
YOU SHOULD BE BACK AT WORK.
FOR TWO, WHATEVER IS THE REASON
YOU'RE NOT COOPERATING IN YOUR
RETURN TO WORK IS BECAUSE YOUR
BODY WAS BREAKING DOWN BEFORE
YOUR ACCIDENT.
YOU'RE OLD, REGENERATING, AND
I'M SORRY WE HAVE TO END YOUR
CLAIM AND CLOSE YOUR CASE.
IT MAKES PEOPLE FEEL LIKE A
NUMBER, STIGMATIZED, AND LIKE
THEY ARE BEING TREATED LIKE
THEY'RE FRAUDULENT, EVEN THOUGH
I KNOW THE BOARD'S OFFICIAL
POSITION IS THAT FRAUD IS LOW.

Steve says LET ME GIVE TOM A
CHANCE TO RESPOND TO THAT.

Tom says SLIGHTLY
DIFFERENT APPROACHES.
ONE IS, WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
TO ENSURE THAT THE INJURIES OR
ILLNESSES THAT ARE PRESENTED ARE
RELATED TO WORK.
THAT'S WHAT THE LEGISLATION
REQUIRES US TO DO AND THAT'S THE
QUESTION WE HAVE TO ASK, NOT
ONLY AT THE OUTSET OF A CLAIM
BUT THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF A
CLAIM.
SO, YOU KNOW, THAT'S THE BASIC
JOB THAT OUR ADJUDICATORS,
CLAIMS MANAGERS ARE REQUIRED TO
ASK AS A CLAIM GOES ON.

Steve says THE SUGGESTION IS
YOUR PEOPLE TAKE A RATHER HARSH
APPROACH TO THINGS.

Tom says IF SOMEONE IS
TAKING A HARSH APPROACH, THAT'S
NOT THE APPROACH WE WANT THEM TO
TAKE.
WE DON'T WANT ANYBODY TO HAVE A
BAD EXPERIENCE.
WE'RE A SERVICE ENTITY.
WE'RE THERE TO HELP INJURED
WORKERS.
AS I SAY, DO WE GET IT RIGHT
EVERY TIME?
NO.
THAT'S WHY WHEN I'VE MET WITH
CERTAINLY MARYTH AND DAVID, I
SAID, IF YOU HAVE... IF THERE
ARE CASES THAT ARE CHALLENGING,
LET ME KNOW ABOUT THEM.
LET US KNOW ABOUT THEM.

Steve says AND THEY DO?

Tom says AND THEY DO.
WELL, SOMETIMES THEY DO.
SOMETIMES THEY DON'T.
DAVID MENTIONED THAT REPORT THAT
WE MAY TALK ABOUT LATER WHERE
CERTAIN CASES, A REPORT WAS
GIVEN TO THE OMBUDSMAN'S OFFICE.
I'VE BEEN ASKING FOR THE CASES
THEY'VE SENT TO THE OMBUDSMAN'S
OFFICE FOR 6 MONTHS.
I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THEM.
IF THERE ARE CHALLENGES WITH
SOME OF THOSE CASES, MAYBE WE
CAN FIX THEM.

Steve says I'M GOING TO ASK YOU
TO HOLD OFF... I KNOW YOU WANTED
TO GET IN ON THIS.
BECAUSE OF WHAT TOM JUST SAID,
WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT THIS REPORT
RIGHT NOW.
SHELDON, BRING THE GRAPHIC UP.
EVERYBODY, READ ALONG, IF YOU WILL.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Red flags." The quote reads "In September of this year, Dr. Brenda Steinnagel filed a lawsuit against her employer and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), alleging that she was fired by the clinic she worked for at the behest of the WSIB, because she refused to change her medical opinion to the one that the Board wanted to hear.
While her accusations are no doubt shocking to the general public, for injured workers –as well as their advocates and health care providers- the lawsuit confirms what has long been suspected: The WSIB's inappropriate regulation of medical care is hurting patients with work injuries.
Long before Dr. Steinnagel came forward with her lawsuit, health care workers in this province were raising red flags about the ways in which the province's compensation system treats their patients."
Quoted from David Newberry ad Laura Lunansky. "Prescription over-ruled." November 5, 2015.

Steve says DAVID, YOU'VE TALKED
TO OTHER HEALTH PROVIDERS AS
WELL WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE
WRITING OF THIS REPORT THAT
WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT.
WHAT DO THEY TELL YOU?

David says I MEAN, THE
ALLEGATIONS THAT ARE LEVELED BY
DR. STEINNAGEL ARE DEFINITELY
VERY SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS AND
THEY ARE SOMETHING THAT IS
WORKING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE
COURTS RIGHT NOW THAT THE COURTS
HAVE DECIDED HAVE AT LEAST
ENOUGH MERIT TO MOVE TO A TRIAL
ABOUT IT.
BUT SHE IS CERTAINLY NOT THE
ONLY SCENARIO THAT WE RAISE.
SHE IS CERTAINLY NOT THE ONLY
CONCERN THAT WE HAVE.
WHAT DR. STEINNAGEL BROUGHT
FORWARD IS ONE WAY THAT SHE SEES
THE BOARD DEVALUING THE OPINIONS
OF DOCTORS, REFERRING TO MEDICAL
CONSULTANTS AND PRESSURING THOSE
MEDICAL CONSULTANTS TO CHANGE
THEIR OPINION.
THAT'S ONE WAY.
WE'VE SEEN IN THE PRESS RECENTLY
A NUMBER OF DOCTORS WHO HAVE
BEEN FAIRLY SUBSTANTIALLY
CRITICIZED FOR BEING, YOU KNOW,
HANDS OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY
WHO HAVE ALSO BEEN HIRED BY THE
WSIB TO GIVE OPINIONS.
THAT ENDED UP OVERPOWERING THE
CONCERNS OF WORKERS TREATING
DOCTORS.
WE SEE THE USE OF... MARYTH WAS
TOUCHING ON PREEXISTING POLICIES
THAT EXIST, WHERE THE POLICY
ACTUALLY STATES, YOU KNOW, IF
YOU HAVE A NON-SYMPTOMATIC
PREEXISTING CONDITION AND THEN
YOU HAVE AN INJURY, YOUR REWARD
WILL BE REDUCED BECAUSE YOUR
BODY WAS DEGENERATING AS EVERY
WORKER, AS EVERY BODY DOES.

Steve says LET ME STOP YOU
THERE FOR A SECOND.
I WANT TO GET... THE CLOCK IS
OUR ENEMY HERE.
I WANT TO MAKE SURE WE GET AS
MUCH COVERED AS WE CAN.
TOM, THE SUGGESTION AGAIN IS
THAT THE WSIB PUTS PRESSURES ON
DOCTORS TO GIVE CERTAIN OPINIONS
THAT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY AND GET
PEOPLE BACK ON THE JOB FASTER OR
WHATEVER.
YOUR COMMENT?

Tom says THE STEINNAGEL
CASE I'M NOT GOING TO COMMENT ON
BECAUSE IT'S A CASE ABOUT A
SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL.
THE BROADER QUESTION I THINK
THAT WAS RAISED IN THE
SUBMISSION THAT DAVID IS TALKING
ABOUT, THE BROAD REPORT, IS DOES
THE WSIB IGNORE DOCTORS?
I THINK THE ANSWER TO THAT IS NO.
IN FACT, WHEN THAT REPORT WAS
RAISED, AND IT WAS RAISED BY
DAVID THROUGH THE OFL AND WE
TOOK THAT VERY SERIOUSLY BECAUSE
SOMETHING LIKE THAT SUGGESTS
THERE'S NOT INTEGRITY IN THE
SYSTEM, AND I HAVE SAID SINCE I
BECAME PRESIDENT, WE HAVE TO
HAVE A SYSTEM THAT IS KNOWN FOR
ITS INTEGRITY.
WE INVESTIGATED IT INTERNALLY,
WE HAD AN INTERNAL AUDIT.
THE OUTCOME OF IT WAS THAT IN
85 percent OF THE CASES WHERE WE USE
MEDICAL CONSULTANTS TO ASSIST
OUR CASE MANAGERS IN MAKING A
DECISION... AND WE HAVE TO DO THAT.
OUR CASE MANAGERS ARE NOT
MEDICAL EXPERTS.
SO I THINK HE WOULD UNDERSTAND
WE NEED MEDICAL ADVICE.
85 percent OF THE TIME OUR MEDICAL
CONSULTANTS AGREE WITH THE
FAMILY PHYSICIAN.
SO THERE'S A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF
TIMES WHEN THEY DON'T.
YOU KNOW, IT'S WHY I SAID, I'D
LIKE TO SEE THE CASES WHERE...
THAT DAVID PUT FORWARD THAT
MIGHT FIT INTO THAT SMALL
CATEGORY BECAUSE MAYBE WE CAN DO
SOMETHING ABOUT THEM.
WHAT I WILL SAY IS, WE USE THE
ADVICE OF EXTERNAL MEDICAL
CONSULTANTS IN LESS THAN 3 percent OF
OUR CASES.
SO, FIRST OF ALL, IT'S NOT A
WIDESPREAD PRACTICE, AS IS
SUGGESTED, THAT WE ARE USING
MEDICAL CONSULTANTS TO ASSIST
US.
IN LESS THAN 3 percent OF ALL OF OUR
CASES IN A YEAR DO WE EVEN USE
THEM.
SO THAT'S... YOU KNOW, THAT'S
THE REALITY OF WHERE WE ARE.

Steve says GARY, YOU WANTED TO
FOLLOW UP.

Gary says ON THAT I'M
GOING TO FOLLOW UP.
THE USE OF CONSULTANTS IS A
DOUBLE-EDGE SWORD.
IF ONLY 3 percent OF THE CASES ARE
BEING REFERRED OUT FOR OPINIONS,
THE REALITY THAT THAT REFLECTS
IS THAT MUCH OF THE TIME, AND
STATISTICALLY I GUESS IT'S 97 percent
OF THE TIME, THE FRONT LINE
DECISION-MAKERS ARE MAKING
DECISIONS THAT ARE NEGATIVE
WITHOUT ANY SUPPORTIVE MEDICAL
OPINION TO SUPPORT THAT NEGATIVE
POSITION, AND THERE WILL BE
USUALLY ON THE FILE REPORTS FROM
A FAMILY DOCTOR... I SEE THIS
ALL THE TIME... OR A SPECIALIST
SAYING THIS PERSON CAN'T WORK,
WHATEVER, AND THEN THE CASE
MANAGER WILL LOOK AT THAT AND
SAY, WELL, IT'S NOT OBJECTIVE
EVIDENCE.
THERE'S NO FINDING.
SO THE DOCTOR'S OPINION COUNTS
FOR NOTHING.
AND THEY DON'T REFER IT OUT FOR
AN INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT
BECAUSE, AGAIN, 97 percent OF THE TIME
THAT DOESN'T GET DONE.
SO, YOU KNOW, THE CONSULTANT
PROBLEM IS A PROBLEM IN THE
MEDICAL EVIDENCE FRONT BUT IT'S
ONLY ONE OF THE PROBLEMS.

Steve says HE SAYS 3 percent OF THE
CASES.

Gary says WHAT ABOUT
THE 97 percent?
IT'S NOT LIKE YOU HAVE TO REFER
A CASE OUT EVERY TIME TO A
CONSULTANT...

Tom says I'M SURPRISED
I'M HEARING THAT YOU WOULD LIKE
US TO USE MEDICAL CONSULTANTS
MORE BECAUSE THE CRITICISM TO
THIS POINT HAS BEEN YOU USE THEM
TOO MUCH.
YOU SHOULD RELY ON THE EVIDENCE
OF THE FAMILY PHYSICIAN AND
THAT'S QUITE FRANKLY 97 percent OF THE
TIME, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE DO.

Gary says IT'S A
NUANCED CRITICISM.
AND PART OF THE CRITICISM IS, IF
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY
REGARD FOR MEDICAL EVIDENCE AT
ALL, AT LEAST...

Steve says THAT'S A DIFFERENT POINT.

Gary says THAT'S A
PRETTY SIGNIFICANT POINT.
YEAH, IT'S ONE ISSUE OF
CONSULTANT-SHOPPING AND TRYING
TO INFLUENCE THE OPINIONS.
THAT'S A PROBLEM.
BUT AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, THE
MORE SYSTEMIC PROBLEM IS THE
COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR MEDICAL
EVIDENCE ACROSS THE BOARD.
AND IN FACT, EVEN IN THE BOARD'S
OWN STUDY, SOMETIMES THE BOARD
DOESN'T EVEN RESPECT ITS OWN
CONSULTANTS' OPINIONS, AND I CAN
UNDERSTAND WHY THEY MIGHT NOT,
BUT IT'S JUST LIKE THE WILD WEST
WHEN IT COMES TO MEDICAL
EVIDENCE AT THE BOARD.

Steve says DAVID?

David says TOM IS
CHARACTERIZING THE COMPLAINT
THAT WAS BROUGHT FORWARD AS ONE
THAT IS ABOUT MEDICAL
CONSULTANTS, AND THAT JUST ISN'T
TRUE.
THE CONCERNS THAT WE BROUGHT
FORWARD ARE CONCERNS ABOUT THE
WAYS IN WHICH THE BOARD TREATS
MEDICAL EVIDENCE.
TO THEIR CREDIT... WE BROUGHT
FORWARD 12 OR 13 WAYS THAT WE
THINK THAT THEY USE TO DEVALUE
THE OPINION OF A TREATING
MEDICAL TEAM, AND TO THEIR
CREDIT, THEY DID STUDY ONE OF
THEM, AND THAT WAS THE USE OF
MEDICAL CONSULTANTS.
LIKE TOM SAYS, IT'S ONLY USED IN
3 percent OF CASES.
THEIR OWN NUMBERS... IN THERE
THEY FOUND THAT ABOUT ONE-THIRD
OF THE CASES THAT THEY LOOKED AT
DIDN'T HAVE AN OPINION FROM A
TREATING DOCTOR WHEN IT WAS
REFERRED TO A MEDICAL
CONSULTANT.
SO THAT MEANS NO ONE IS GIVING A
MEDICAL OPINION WHO HAS MET THE
WORKER.
AND IN ALMOST ONE IN TEN CASES
THERE'S NO EVIDENCE ON THE FILE
THAT THE DECISION-MAKER LOOKED
AT ANY OF THE MEDICAL EVIDENCE.
THOSE ARE THE KIND OF STANDARDS
THAT I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD BE
SATISFIED WITH.

Steve says LET ME CIRCLE ABOUT
A BEING TO SOMETHING YOU STARTED
THE PROGRAM WITH AND THAT WAS A
DISCUSSION ABOUT NOT JUST THE
INJURY OF THE BODY BUT THE
INJURY OF THE MIND THAT CAN
OFTEN ACCOMPANY THE INJURY OF
THE BODY, AND TO THAT END, IN A
STUDY BY THE INSTITUTE FOR WORK
AND HEALTH WHICH CANVASSED
WORKERS WITH MUSCULOSKELETAL
INJURIES THAT FILED CLAIMS WITH
THE WSIB, DEPRESSION IS A BIG
ISSUE WHEN HAVING TO MISS WORK.
LET'S READ THIS EXCERPT...

Another quote appears on screen, under the title "Depression and work injury." The quote reads "About half of the workers in the study frequently felt symptoms of depression at some point in the 12 months following the injury. About 15 percent reported high levels of depressive symptoms at all three interviews. Almost one in 10 were diagnosed by a physician with depression during this period."
Quoted from The Institute for Work and Health, "At work." Winter 2016.

Steve says MIGUEL TOLD US AT
THE BEGINNING OF THE PROGRAM HOW
HE HAD TO DEAL WITH SOME
DEPRESSION BECAUSE HERE IS A GUY
WHO HAS WORKED SINCE HE WAS 11
YEARS OLD AND HE CAN'T WORK NOW
AND IT AFFECTS HIS SENSE OF
SELF.
DOES THE WSIB DEAL ADEQUATELY
AROUND ISSUES OF DEPRESSION AND
COMPENSATING FOR ISSUES OF
DEPRESSION, IN YOUR VIEW?

The caption changes to "When the injury is emotional."

Maryth says SO
DEPRESSION AND MENTAL ILLNESS AT
THE WSIB IS IN A CRISIS RIGHT
NOW.
MIGUEL'S CASE IS JUST A CLASSIC
EXAMPLE OF WHAT'S HAPPENING TIME
AND AGAIN.
AFTER HE WAS UNABLE TO WORK, HIS
PSYCHOLOGIST WROTE TO THE WSIB
AND SAID, LISTEN, MIGUEL IS IN
CRISIS.
HE NEEDS PSYCHOLOGICAL
ASSESSMENT.
PLEASE FUND IT.
HE IS GOING TO GET WORSE IF HE
DOES NOT RECEIVE COUNSELLING AND
HELP, AND RIGHT NOW HIS CHRONIC
PAIN AND DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
MAKE HIM UNABLE TO WORK AND THE
BOARD SAID NO.
HE SHOULD NOT HAVE THIS MENTAL
INJURY.
IT'S NOT RELATED TO HIS INJURY.
WE'RE NOT PAYING FOR ANY
TREATMENT.
WE MET RECENTLY WITH TOM AND HIS
SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM AND ASKED
FOR HIM TO MAKE SOME SIMPLE
SOLUTION CHANGES TO TRY AND
RIGHT THE SHIP AT THE WSIB AND
ONE OF THESE WAS TO PROVIDE
COUNSELLING HELP FOR WORKERS,
PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT.
TELL WORKERS HOW COMMON IT IS TO
BE DEPRESSED AFTER WORKPLACE
INJURY, NORMALIZE IT.
LET THEM KNOW THEY CAN GET HELP
AND OFFER THAT HELP.

Steve says AND...

Maryth says AND WE HAVE
RECEIVED NO INDICATION OF
PROGRESS ON ANY OF THOSE
SUGGESTIONS.

Steve says HAVE YOU RECEIVED A NO?

Maryth says NOT A NO BUT...

Steve says HAVE YOU RECEIVED
A... WE'RE LOOKING AT IT.

Tom says IT'S ONE OF THE
THINGS WE'VE BEEN LOOKING AT
WITH MARYTH AND A NUMBER OF OTHERS.
COMING OUT OF THE DISCUSSIONS...
SO I SPEND A LOT OF TIME...
WE'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME
TALKING ABOUT LOOKING AT VARIOUS
WAYS THAT WE CAN MAKE THE SYSTEM
BETTER AND IMPROVE IT.
WE DO COVER... MARYTH, I THINK,
ALLUDED TO IT.
IF A PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION
EMANATES FROM A
NON-PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURY, THAT
IS A... THAT IS AN ILLNESS OR
INJURY THAT IS COVERED BY THE
WSIB.
NOW, TO MY EARLIER POINT.
THERE NEEDS TO BE A CONNECTION
TO THE ORIGINAL INJURY, AND
SADLY, IT IS VERY COMMON THAT
THAT HAPPENS.
IT IS VERY COMMON.
THAT'S WHY RETURN TO WORK IS SO
IMPORTANT, QUITE FRANKLY.
THAT, YOU KNOW, THE LONGER A
WORKER STAYS OFF WORK AND NOT
ABLE TO GET BACK TO WORK, ONE OF
THE POTENTIAL OUTCOMES OF THAT
IS A DEPRESSION OR A
PSYCHOLOGICAL MENTAL STRESS
ISSUE, AND THAT WOULD BE
SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE COVERED
IN THE APPROPRIATE CASE.

Steve says GARY, IS IT
DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE WHETHER
DEPRESSION IS BROUGHT ON BY
SOMEBODY NOT BEING ABLE TO WORK
VERSUS MAYBE THEY HAVE A
PREDISPOSITION TO IT, MAYBE
THERE ARE OTHER THINGS GOING ON
IN THEIR LIVES.
DO YOU HAVE ANY...

Gary says FIRST OF
ALL, THAT'S THE KIND OF
DETERMINATION THAT HAS TO BE
MADE BY A MENTAL HEALTH
PROFESSIONAL.
SECOND OF ALL, WHEN IT'S
TRANSLATED TO WORKERS'
COMPENSATION SYSTEM, THE ISSUE
IS, DID THE WORK INJURY OR THE
WORK ACCIDENT MAKE A SIGNIFICANT
CONTRIBUTION TO THE
PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEM?
SO WHETHER OR NOT THE WORKER HAD
SOME KIND OF PREVIOUS POSITION,
WHATEVER THAT MEANS, OR MAYBE
THERE'S OTHER THINGS GOING ON IN
THEIR LIFE THAT MIGHT BE
DEPRESSING, YOU KNOW, IF YOU CAN
POINT TO THE WORK INJURY AS A
FACTOR, AND THAT... THE NORMAL
WAY THAT GETS DONE IS A
PSYCHIATRIST OR A PSYCHOLOGIST
WRITES A REPORT AND SAYS, WELL,
THERE ARE MAYBE THREE OR FOUR
FACTORS HERE, BUT I CAN
IDENTIFY, BASED ON THE HISTORY,
THAT THE SIGNIFICANT... A
SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTING FACTOR
WAS THE WORK INJURY, AND THAT'S
IT.
IT'S VERY SIMPLE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram."

Steve says I DON'T ENVY ANY OF YOU.
I MEAN, THE FACT IS, WE'RE
REALLY TRYING TO FIND THE SWEET
SPOT HERE, THE BALANCE, WHERE ON
THE ONE HAND, WORKERS' RIGHTS
ARE RESPECTED AND THEY'RE BACK
TO WORK AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.
THAT'S YOUR INTEREST.
YOUR INTEREST IS TO KEEP CLAIMS
AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, TREATING
WORKERS AS HUMANELY AS POSSIBLE,
BUT OBVIOUSLY... I SHOULDN'T SAY
OBVIOUSLY, I SHOULD ASK.
ARE YOU UNDER ANY PRESSURE FROM
THE GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO TO
KEEP CLAIMS AS LOW AS POSSIBLE
BECAUSE IF PREMIUMS GET TOO HIGH
AMONGST EMPLOYERS, PEOPLE AREN'T
GOING TO SET UP JOBS HERE.

Tom says NO.
YOU ASKED US WHAT IS OUR
MISSION.
AND YOU GO BACK TO THE VERY
FOUNDATION OF THE WORKERS'
COMPENSATION SYSTEM WHEN IT WAS
SET UP...

Steve says A HUNDRED YEARS AGO.

The caption changes to "Fairness in compensation."

Tom says IT WAS SET UP
AS AN HISTORIC COMPROMISE.
PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THAT A LOT.
WHAT THAT REALLY MEANS
BASICALLY, WORKERS GAVE UP THE
RIGHT TO SUE AND THEY WERE
GUARANTEED A SYSTEM THAT
PROVIDED THEM BENEFITS WHEN THEY
NEEDED IT.
IT'S EVOLVED INTO, HOW DO WE
PROVIDE RETURN TO WORK TO ASSIST
IN THAT?
RETURN TO WORK DIDN'T EXIST 102
YEARS AGO.
AND EMPLOYERS AGREED TO PAY
PREMIUMS INTO A COLLECTIVE
LIABILITY SYSTEM, BUT AT THE
SAME TIME, THERE WAS ALSO AN
UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU HAD TO
RUN THE SYSTEM PROVIDING STABLE
AND FAIR PREMIUMS TO EMPLOYERS
BECAUSE OTHERWISE THE SYSTEM
WOULD BE OUT OF BALANCE.
THAT'S IN A SENSE THE COMPROMISE
AND BALANCE THAT WE HAVE TO TRY
AND MAINTAIN ALL THE TIME.
THE REALITY IS RIGHT NOW WE
CHARGE EMPLOYERS BASED ON THE
CLAIMS THAT COME IN.
YOU KNOW, THANKFULLY, THE NUMBER
OF CLAIMS COMING INTO OUR SYSTEM
EVERY YEAR IS GOING DOWN BECAUSE
I THINK WORK PLACES ARE
GENERALLY SAFER THAN THEY USED
TO BE, AND THAT'S A GOOD THING.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S BEEN HUGE
FOCUS FOR 25 YEARS ON HEALTH AND
SAFETY AND WE'RE SEEING THE
BENEFITS OF THAT NOW IN FEWER
CLAIMS COMING IN.
WHATEVER COSTS THEY'RE DRIVING,
YOU KNOW, WE'RE CHARGING FOR
THAT NOW.
UNFORTUNATELY WE'RE ALSO
CHARGING A SIGNIFICANT PREMIUM
FOR AN... LIABILITY THAT HAS
BEEN AROUND 50 OR MORE YEARS?
WHERE'S THAT AT NOW?

Tom says IT'S BELOW
5 BILLION BUT OUR PREMIUM RATE
WILL BE 2 dollars 46.
1 dollars OF THAT PREMIUM IS JUST FOR
THE UNFUNDED LIABILITY.

Steve says THAT'S 2 dollars 46 PER...

Tom says ON AVERAGE PER
100 dollars OF PAYROLL.

Steve says MARYTH, I GET THAT
YOUR MISSION IN LIFE IS TO
REPRESENT PEOPLE WHO FEEL
AGGRIEVED BY THIS SYSTEM AND
YOU'RE LOOKING OUT FOR THE
PERSON WHO HAS BEEN INJURED.
IS THERE A PART OF YOU, THOUGH,
THAT RECOGNIZES THAT IF TOO MANY
PEOPLE MAKE A CLAIM ON THE
SYSTEM AND IF IT IS TOO... IF
THE MISSION IS TOO LIBERALLY
INTERPRETED, THAT THE PREMIUMS
THAT BUSINESSES WILL PAY WILL BE
TOO HIGH AND THE JOBS THAT
ACTUALLY EVERYBODY WANTS CREATED
IN THE FIRST PLACE WON'T BE
CREATED BECAUSE IT WILL BE TOO
ONEROUS TO DO BUSINESS IN THIS
PROVINCE.
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THAT AT ALL?

Maryth says I DON'T
LOSE SLEEP AT NIGHT BUT I THINK
IT IS AN IMPORTANT QUESTION
BECAUSE IT CONCERNS A LOT OF
PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY AND IT'S
AN IMPORTANT ONE FOR US TO THINK
ABOUT.
BUT THE TRUTH ON THE GROUND IS
THAT PREMIUMS ARE NOT HIGH.
PREMIUMS ARE VERY REASONABLE...

Steve says HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?
HOW DO YOU JUDGE THAT?

Maryth says IF YOU LOOK
HISTORICALLY AT WHERE PREMIUMS
WERE IN THE PAST, HARRIS DECIDED
TO CUT THEM VERY
SIGNIFICANTLY...

Steve says FORMER PREMIER MIKE
HARRIS.

Maryth says THAT'S THE
REASON FOR A LOT OF THE UNFUNDED
LIABILITY WAS BREAKS TO
EMPLOYERS IN THEIR PREMIUM
RATES, AND WE'RE SEEING THAT
STARTING TO HAPPEN AGAIN NOW
WITH BREAKS TO EMPLOYERS THIS
YEAR IN THEIR PREMIUM RATES.
THE CONCERN WE HAVE IS THAT
PREMIUMS SHOULD BE QUEUED TO THE
NEEDS OF THE SYSTEM, AND WHEN
THE GOVERNMENT... IN RESPONSE TO
THE AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT,
CLEARLY SAID THAT THE BALANCING
OF THE BUDGET WOULD NOT BE ON
THE BACKS OF INJURED WORKERS.
MARSHALL SAID... THE PREDECESSOR
TO TOM, HE SAID THAT WHEN HE
CAME TO THE POSITION, HE FOUND
QUITE QUICKLY THAT THE PROBLEM
WAS NOT A REVENUE PROBLEM, IT
WAS AN EXPENSE PROBLEM.
AND THAT IS THE APPROACH THE WCB
HAS TAKEN.
THE WCB HAS TAKEN AN APPROACH OF
CUTTING BENEFITS IN ANY WAY THAT
THEY CAN.

Steve says LET ME ASK THE
CONVERSE: COULD YOU RAISE
PREMIUMS A LITTLE BIT?

Tom says WE DON'T NEED
TO RAISE PREMIUMS.
WE DON'T NEED TO RAISE PREMIUMS.
OUR PREMIUMS... I UNDERSTAND THE
SENSE THAT PREMIUMS AREN'T THAT
HIGH.
THE REALITY IS, WE HAVE THE
HIGHEST PREMIUMS IN THE COUNTRY
OF ALL WORKERS' COMPENSATION
SYSTEMS.
THERE ARE ONLY TWO WORKERS'
COMPENSATION SYSTEMS IN THE
COUNTRY THAT HAVE AN UNFUNDED
LIABILITY.
OUR PREMIUM INCLUDES A DOLLAR
JUST TO GO TO THE UNFUNDED
LIABILITY.
THE REASON WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO
BRING THAT DOWN OVER THE COURSE
OF THE LAST 7 YEARS IS BECAUSE
WE'VE BEEN PUTTING AN EXTRA
BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR OF
PREMIUM REVENUE BACK INTO THE
SYSTEM BECAUSE WE'VE CHARGED
MORE PREMIUM FOR EMPLOYERS.
PREMIUMS RATES HAVE GONE UP OVER
THE LAST... BETWEEN 2010 AND
2016 THEY WENT UP BY 8 percent.
THE COMPOUNDING IMPACT OF THAT
HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANT OVER THE
COURSE OF THE LAST 6 YEARS.
SO WE DON'T NEED TO INCREASE
PREMIUMS, AND I AGREE WITH
MARYTH WHEN SHE SAYS PREMIUMS
SHOULD REFLECT THE COST COMING IN.

Steve says AND YOU THINK...

Tom says WE'RE CHARGING
RIGHT NOW, THE NEW CLAIMS, THE
COST OF... THE PREMIUM COMPONENT
WE CHARGE IN RELATION TO WHAT IT
WILL COST FOR NEW CLAIMS IS
CHARGED DIRECTLY BACK TO
EMPLOYERS, AND THAT'S IN OUR...

Steve says FRIENDS, I KNOW WE
COULD CONTINUE THIS FOR MUCH
LONGER BUT SADLY THAT IS OUR TIME.

Tom says WE HAVE TO COME BACK.

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas."

Steve says I WAS JUST GOING TO
SAY. WE REALLY DO NEED TO GET
YOU BACK.
WE'RE JUST GETTING WARMED UP AND
I DIDN'T GET TO HALF OF THE
THINGS I WANTED TO AS WELL.
LET ME THANK TOM TEAHEN, THE
PRESIDENT OF THE WSIB, AND GARY
NEWHOUSE, THE LAWYER WHO DEALS
WITH MANY WCB CLAIMS, MARYTH
YACHNIN, AND DAVID NEWBERRY.
THANK YOU FOR COMING IN.

Tom says THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

Gary says THANK YOU.

Watch: WSIB: Working for Injured Workers?