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My response to the WSIB’s John Slinger: I stand by my claims

The WSIB is reducing its unfunded liability through denied claims to legitimate claimants, CARAHS president Alec Caldwell maintains, in spite of protestations to the contrary by the WSIB's COO John Slinger.


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November 26, 2015 by Alec Caldwell

John Slinger's cookiecuttersJohn Slinger, COO of the WSIB, said there were inaccuracies in my recent article in which I argued that the WSIB is reducing its unfunded liability partly on the backs of the province’s injured workers, via denied claims.

The only inaccuracy I can see is where I cited that WSIB’s unfunded liability stood at $9-billion.  Slinger says it’s only $7.5 billion. I still argue that the WSIB has been saving money via denied claims, and that this has brought human misery to thousands of restricted or denied claimants and their families.

Slinger wrote, “Returning the WSIB to financial sustainability is central to the well-being of injured workers, by ensuring the system is there for them in the years to come.”

Is he saying that current claimants must pay the price for WSIB’s past mismanagement and from WSIB’s  future survival? Meaning that WSIB will be in a position to look after future claimants? If they look after future claimants the same way as they are looking after existing ones, heaven help these future claimants! They’ll be thrown under the bus, just like today’s claimants!

WSIB has made themselves the only gas station in town

The WSIB crushed private insurance competition when they forced Bill 119 down the throats of many, including the self-employed. Many people unable to pay for two coverages, canceling their voluntary (private) insurance coverages through companies like Manulife, Great-West Life, Canada Life and others. Many individual people were protected 24/7 for accidents and sicknesses – in many cases, anywhere in the world. Major sickness like prostrate cancer were covered, including heart attack and strokes. In the last 12 months a handful of contractors I know contracted prostrate cancer by simply finding out at their annual check ups. WSIB does not cover sicknesses like these.

Doctor’s reports

WSIB uses their own doctors of preference, while private insurance companies use a person’s local MD or whatever specialist a person might be referred to, in order to adjudicate their injury or sickness claim. These independent doctors work at arm’s length and have no affiliation to private insurance companies. Independent adjudication delivers unbiased reporting and fairness.

Rate increases

WSIB will increase your rate per/100 on your claims experience. With individual private insurance companies, some guarantee level rates to age 65, regardless of how many claims you make against them. Others will only increase as a group and not an individual on claim.

Rates grouping

WSIB construction rates are one of the higher in all industries. Individual private insurance companies construction rates are normally way lower than what WSIB charge.

Reduced rates for no claims

WSIB can reduce your rate per/100 for good claims experience. Some private insurance companies offer better, they refund 50 per cent of the premiums you paid them over an 8 or 10 year period for no claims. Further, if claims that are kept to below 20 per cent of the premiums paid over the period, they’ll refund you the difference. If you’re not sure if your policy carries these refunds to you, simply contact your broker or contact us.

True example: Manulife paid a contractor of ours $7,500 (tax free) last week. This represented 50 per cent of the money he paid them over the last 8 years.

Your financial health is at risk if you only rely on WSIB!

In the interest of full disclosure, CARAHS offers, among its services, to connect you with private insurers. Contact us toll-free at 1 866 366 2930.

Visit our online Safety e-courses WHMIS

Passion – Commitment – Integrity

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carahs.org


Alec Caldwell

Alec Caldwell

Alec Caldwell is the Founder of CARAHS, a Health & Safety Organization. We are approved providers by the Ministry of Labour (Ontario) to teach Working at Heights Training (Pro#34609) Visit the Ministry of Labour's web site to view our listing
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7 Comments » for My response to the WSIB’s John Slinger: I stand by my claims
  1. Eric Moreau says:

    I am a member of CFIB and a few years ago they tried to lobby that independant self employed company owners like myself should be able to keep our independant ( 24-7 ) coverage with far greater terms than that wich WSIB could offer.

    CFIB was not sussesscful and now I pay both insurances. WSIB can not in any way cover me and they don’t care either way.

    WSIB and its tactics belong in a Police State.

    When I had three seperate emplyees use WSIB’s claim system, all three emplyees were able to complete their paid daycare duties thanks to WSIB. My prices had to go up to cover increased rates with WSIB.

  2. Your article derails when you speak of private insurance companies using medical experts who work at arm’s length from insurers – you have no idea how wrong you are. Insurers have medical examinations in place, using assessment centres, that often only do insurance work, that are at the core of the problem of wrongful denials for motor vehicle accident victims (MVA) The system is set up to counter the medical diagnoses and treatment advice that MVA victims’ attending or treating physicians provide. The examining doctors for MVA victims are more often than not the same “experts” who do WSIB work. Talk to any of the 61,000 MVA victims waiting to be heard in court or the 19,000 + who await mediation and arbitration with our government’s regulator and its dispute resolution system. The problem of denial, cutting of benefits to early if you get them, long-drawn out processes to get there, insufficient benefits, and being sent back to work too early are not just problems encountered by injured workers through WSIB, there are countless numbers of people who have been seriously or catastrophically injured who have ended up on ODSP because of these for-hire insurer “experts” who write their assessment reports to favour their insurer employer. I’ve written a book to that effect – deniedbenefitclaims.com
    Jokelee Vanderkop

  3. Erin Hawkins says:

    Thank you for speaking out, WSIB tries to make it is just a few dissatisfied injured workers whose claims were justifiably denied. In fact, there are 1000s of injured workers with legitimate claims support by lots of medical evidence that are being denied. We need the help of all informed citizens to fight this fraud against the public. WSIB puts pressure on specialists to provide an opinion that WSIB wants, my specialist was forced to wait 6 months for payment from WSIB since WSIB could get her to write what WSIB wanted to hear.

  4. Erin Hawkins says:

    Former Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer Who Was Minister Of Labour Under PC Premier Mike Harris When They Created ‪#‎Ontario‬’s Workplace Safety & Insurance Board ‪#‎WSIB‬ Which Replaced Ontario’s Workers Compensation Board(WCB) Then In 2012 Former Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty Appointed Her As Chair Of The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board(WSIB) Where She Earned $189,019 Plus $11,820 In Taxable Benefits In 2014.

    1) Witmer hammered injured workers with Bill 99, cut benefits to the injured and gave a gift to employers by cutting premiums/assessments (approximately by 30%).

    2) Witmer said chronic pain should not be recognized as a permanent disability

    3) Witmer said that Chronic Stress at work was not a clear compensable condition and needed to be restricted

    4) Witmer was a promoter of the “anti-fraud campaign” that stigmatized injured workers as cheaters. Since then the Board worked with RAACWI to produce a pamphlet denouncing WSIB stigma towards injured workers. (The WSIB had a $10 million initiative to “combat fraud” in 1997)Less of .1% of injured workers claims have ever been found fraudulent.

    5) The WSIB has a chart showing if rates were not reduced (by Witmer and co.) the Unfunded Liability would not exist. This was part of the Arthurs review.

    6) The Auditor General report says the WSIB recognized that Bill 99 had created huge problems for injured workers.

    7) Witmer resisted meeting injured workers – NDP critic Dave Christopherson criticized Witmer in the House for referring to injured workers as a “mob” (June 18, 1997)

    8) Witmer privatized vocational rehabilitation. The Toronto Star found that privatized vocational rehabilitation was a disaster.( Fraud against the public & Corruption & a rubber stamp for fictitious medical evidence)

    9) With Bill 15 she forced the “value for money audits” on the WSIB each year, and brought in the duty to report “material change of circumstance”.

    10) She forced the WSIAT to apply Board policies, instead of using them only as a guide and following the Act more broadly, she also introduce time limits on appeal.

    11) Changed the name of the Act and Board from “workers’ compensation” to “workplace safety and insurance” to reflect the private sector thinking and the abandonment of the Act as “social legislation”.

    12) Witmer reduced the board’s contribution to the “loss of retirement income” for injured workers by 50%!

  5. Erin Hawkins says:

    I recognize as an employer paying your premiums as you’re required to so, you unlikely do not know who to believe. I will summarize what WSIB has been doing for at least a decade but has accelerated their attacks on injured workers in the last 5 years. WSIB collects premiums from employers to protect themselves from lawsuits & to provide for workers who are injured on the job. Like a person buying a life insurance policy, $100,000.00 for your dependents to provide for their financial futures. Imagine that when that day came and your family tries to collect with your death certificate in hand. The response of the insurance company was to tell your dependents & beneficiaries that they will only pay them $20.000.00 or simply refuse payment altogether take it or leave it…file an appeal. If you appeal though we may refuse past benefits paid to you. How would you feel? This is how injured workers are feeling. How is this possible? WSIB is an arm’s length agency of the Ministry of Labour. WSIB; Don Marshall, Elizabeth Witmer & John Slinger tells the Labour Minister what he wants to hear but the reality is completely different for injured workers. The truth is in the details. WSIB has implemented discriminatory policies that completely overrides WSIA legislation. Such as “deeming”; deeming an injured worker well enough to return to work based on WSIB’s new policy & not based on medical evidence of the worker. Creating clinics to rubber stamp this false medical information that contradicts a worker’s specialist reports. Outright denial of all benefits to older & psychologically injured workers based on new policy not WSIA. Deemed 80% to 100% reductions to injured workers benefits based on “phantom” wages when a injured remains medically unable to work. Why should employers care if it keeps their premium rates down? Employers are paying twice for these worker injuries, through premiums and through their taxes as these now poverty stricken injured workers & their families fall onto various taxpayer funded government programs since WSIB is not paying legitimate claims, arbitrarily reducing benefits & health care supported by lots of medical evidence. My own situation is supported by numerous medical reports from 5 doctors & specialists stating I remain unable to work for medical reasons but WSIB has cut my benefits by 80% through deeming. Taxpayers are paying for these workers & their families since WSIB has refused to pay but this hasn’t stopped WSIB from collecting premiums so where are these premiums going? Check out the Sunshine list, there’re hundreds listed from WSIB. WSIB is suggesting this is necessary to cover an unfunded liability or put another way to put enough into their savings account to pay for bills that do not come do for payment for another 10-30 years. These injured workers & their families are your neighbours but they may also be your consumers. Therefore forcing them into bankruptcy doesn’t help local businesses. When John Slinger talks of quicker decisions these are quicker denials forcing injured workers in appeals for the next decade. When John Slinger, WSIB talks of “Better Benefit Management” and “Better RTW Outcomes’ he is really talking about policies deeming injured workers ready to return to work based on Benefit Management policy not medical. Benefits cut & WSIB file closed. Whether an injured worker has ever returned to work or not the file is closed, benefits cut or reduced and these injured workers are included in WSIB’s “Successful RTW” but WSIB doesn’t track what happens after the file is closed.
    This is some real statistics based on “real” people & their “real situation” after a workplace injury. This is 5 years old before WSIB stepped up its assault on Injured Workers’ benefits. WSIB is using information about injured workers’ outcomes post-injury from before 2000, today this situation is significantly worse.
    Injured Workers and Poverty Survey 2010
    Many Losses, Much Hardship
    The Impact of Work Injury
    FAST FACTS
    • Before injury, 89% were employed full time; after injury 9%
    • Nearly one in five lost their homes after injury
    • Nearly one quarter had moved in with family or friends at some point after their injuries
    • One in five injured workers could no longer afford a car
    • Food bank use rose from 5 to 77 people after work injury
    • 20% reported an overnight hospital stay the last 12 months (most because of the work injury) compared with 7% for the general population of Canadians
    • Over half had not been able to afford medications in the past 12 months
    • 57% of injured workers in the study were unemployed
    For more information: wwwinjuredworkersonline.org
    If I were paying premiums to WSIB in support of programs that were to help injured workers & were intended to keep them out of poverty & not dependent on society. I would feel ripped off by WSIB with these statistics. When John Slinger talks of quicker decisions, he talks of quicker denials that may force injured workers spend the next decade tied up in WSIB’s appeals process. When WSIB, John Slinger talks of the same number of claims accepted, how many are actually receiving the full 85% as promised or have they been “deemed” working & counted as a WSIB success story when in reality they are receiving so little with WSIB, their family has fallen onto Welfare since they are still medically unable to work. The truth is in the details, employers are being ripped off & seriously, permanently injured workers are being forced into poverty and to commit suicide as a direct result of WSIB’s new discriminatory and illegal policies that are undermining WSIA. Despite the huge number of WSIB workers on the sunshine list, WSIB has been stashing away billions into savings through claims denials & seriously & illegally reduced benefits, this has been done on the backs of hundreds of thousands of the most seriously injured workers. Type “Injured Worker”, “WSIB” or WSIAT into FB or Google for true stories and the backlog of appeals that remain delayed for more than a year to even be heard. Eventually this situation will be exposed. Premiums are artificially low while WSIB’s wasteful spending continues unabated. The government plans on having Mr. Don Marshall do the same for Ontario’s No-Fault Auto Insurance system, this will affect all Ontarians. The Denial of Legitimate Contractual Insurance Benefits is not good management of expenses. Like paying premiums for $100,000. Benefit of Life Insurance but the Insurance Company refuses to pay the Benefits as promised. No other Insurance company could get away with this….what WSIB is doing is illegal.

  6. JK says:

    Alec contractors were better covered 24/7 by PRIVATE Insurance but the Government wanted to get a CASH GRAB and that is what it was and remains! Lots of injuries have been done on jobsites and NO-One is getting paid because they kept up their PRIVATE Insurance too which the WSIB wants to cut their payments down due to us having PRIVATE INSURANCE. WSIB said this wouldn’t happen when McGuilty pushed his Agenda, we knew better!

    WSIB costs are quadruple per year to what PRIVATE Insurance we’ve paid. The cost of the PRIVATE has not changed over 18 years it has not gone up ONCE and covered 24/7 for everything/anything. The Mandatory on Business owners is a CASH GRAB only by the Ontari-OWE Governments. SCAM to be exact.

    Remind me again why LEGIT businesses have to be a part of this SCAM when WSIB tells anyone injured they won’t pay!

    One example (My husband) Knee surgery and 30 days later was paid PRE SURGERY, time off at full rate (too which we said we would need if he were ever sick or injured) Post Surgery/Physio all PAID and cheques came monthly to keep the BUSINESS AFLOAT in his ABSENCE. Knees get shot on Construction and 2 years later the other knee had to be done (not as bad as the first one) but same scenario and guess what THE RATE HAS NEVER GONE UP SINCE WE FIRST DREW UP WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY GOING ON 19 YEARS NOW!

    From experience and I see this a lot as I do accounting/file taxes/bookkeeping for MANY LEGIT small businesses

    That is 1000% truth

  7. Colin Clark says:

    I’ve been fighting for justice since 91 when company negligence ( convicted ) resulted in permanent disability to no avail. WSIB is a criminal organization that is immune to accountability.