Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Letter To Deputy Minister of Labour ...

...Margaret F MacDonald for Nova Scotia

28/01/2009

Office of the Minister and Deputy Minister of Nova Scotia Department of Labour
PO Box 697
5151 Terminal Road
Halifax N.S.
B3J2T8





To the Attention of:

Deputy Minister: Margaret F. MacDonald:

I am directing this letter to you and the senior bureaucrats who sit in control and oversee the daily operations of the Department of Labour. Simply put, Cabinet Minister’s come and they go, but the most senior public servant’s who run the department and understand the system, are in my opinion the people we should be going to for answers and holding accountable. After all each and every one of you, are employed by the taxpayers to serve and protect and oversee the operations of “government”, you are not employed by a particular political party, even though they may have appointed you.


Those Ministers who are elected and claim to be there to serve the public have proven to be nothing more than worthless, other than the fact they tend nets, you know goalies, whose sole purpose is to deflect controversy away from the real managers of our system and when the rubber hits the road, these Ministers run and hide behind legislative immunity or are transferred out of that portfolio to another one and the abuse within the system goes unchecked. Surely, this is not how “government” is intended to work.


Since 1999 myself and other injured workers across Canada have been looking into the Nova Scotia Workers Compensation Board and the other Provincial WCB programs, what we have learned is most disturbing. Our division of the Abused and Injured Workers Coalition will express our concern’s and seek answers to why there is still on going abuse and bad faith being played out at the hands of the Nova Scotia Workers Compensation Board, under the guidance and watchful eyes of the Nova Scotia Department Of Labour.


Even thought the elected Ministers make the claim that the Department of Labour cannot intervene or become involved in the daily operations of the Board, we injured workers are no longer buying into this bunk. It is the duty of the department of labour to insure the principle which the Workers Compensation Legislation was based on, are acted upon, on a daily bases, and that these principals continue and trust me, the legislation is no longer working. The legislation is used to abuse.


The Workers Compensation Board bares all marking of a bureaucracy out of control, lacks accountability and one that operates knowingly in Bad faith, under the umbrella and protection of the Department of Labour.


It is most disappointing that the Department of Labour is funding three injured workers groups. Keeping in mind that these groups control who can joint “their” private, but public funded clubs. These groups collect $82,500.00 each out of the pocket of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia and refuse to supply a complete accounting break down to the public on how our dollars are spent within these Associations, why are you letting this happen?


When our group tries to make contact with the Nova Scotia Workers Compensation Board, it is made known to me that the Board only recognizes the three “government” funded groups, can you please explain this? Was it decided by the Department of Labour, that they would set up and finance three groups to monopolize and control the voices of injured workers?


Can you please explain to me who represents injured workers like myself and other injured workers when those “round table discussions” are held? Isn't this another display of Bad faith? I have been active in Nova Scotia when it comes to concerns of injured workers, yet no one extended a hand to myself or other to lend our voices, why? Is it because they cannot stand being questioned or held accountable?


Further more, the Mainland Injured Workers Association has its President and Vice President a husband and wife team, these two have maintained control of this group and the people they permit in the Association. As a matter of fact, according to several defectors from this group, the membership does not reflect the money “government” gives them. It has been drawn to our attention that the money rolls right back into the hands of the business community, rent, computers, office supplies, picture to decorate this office, gas allowance, meal and other such items that are of no benefit to injured workers, in other words another façade of “governments” doing.


This is no way to spend public taxes, while senior citizens are in need and injured workers are forced into poverty, hopefully this funding will be brought to an end.Injured workers do not need funding, we need justice.

Injured workers do not benefit from these three groups, these groups are functioning in a controlled environment, and cannot justify to the public that they are receiving value for these dollars.These "government" financed groups had to sign an agreement in order to get this funding, this agreement states that the funding cannot be used to assist injured workers, so what the point?


The Department of Labour has in place a Workers Advisor Program, another tax financed advocacy arm of the Department, surely this program has legal council which are more a tune to labour laws , so why pay for these three Injured Workers Association when this job should be done by the WAP Program, is it all show? Is this another attempt to lead injured workers blindly down a path that will only cause further disrupting in their lives? Do you care or is this the plan?


I am in the process of reading a thesis by Carol MacCulloch , written in 2000, this thesis is called : “Institutionalizing Failure: The Evolution of the Worker’s Compensation System in Nova Scotia ,” It is a very interesting study and one that I would recommend injured workers read, it gives a look into the way this present system is evolving.


I see the Workers Compensation heading towards being privatized, which would be something I could live with, but if it is to be privatized, then the Meredith Principles and that “historic agreement?” and the Bill of 1915 / 1917 will be done with. If the aim of “government” / Department of Labour through this “round table committee, is to privatize the WCB, then it must be understood the legislation dies and this new private Workers Compensation System must fall within the Private Insurance Legislation, leaving themselves open to tort law. You cannot privatize the WCB and make it a profitable business, and still keep it under the umbrella of the WCB Legislation, it would be in breach of the governments own law.


Yes the Workers Compensation Program needs reform, but it best involve those it will impinge on, “injured worker” and “small business.” Unions cannot represent, non union persons, lawyers should not be at the table, they are not payers and those belonging to government financed groups, who are they speaking for, government?


It is a sad day, when injured workers are placed under a law, that further disadvantages them and that within this law it is very evident that sections 167 and 195 are there to protect those who are in a position to use the Act to intimidate and perform in such a way, injured workers have been pushed to the edge and have either committed or attempted to commit suicide.


The treatment that I received by those employed at the Board has been less than professional and one thing for sure, they have proven to me that they do not and will not abide by the Workers Compensation Legislation if they so choose. This is why I have decided to put my own claim on the back burner and set out to fine just how many more Wayne Coady’s are out there, because I was of the opinion, that if they were doing this to me, then it was a safe bet that it was happening to others.


Will I make a difference? I hope, because I cannot sit back and watch this abuse continue, thank god I have an understanding and supportive family. Most injured workers are forced into bankruptcy, onto welfare, they and their families split apart. All because some caseworkers or claims manager whose only goal is to justify their job, has decided that since the Act protects them, they can and will do as they wish. The WCB staff know that their livelihood depends on the denial and review process. So they use it to their advantage, it helps maintain “their” family income, even thought it is at the expense of the injured client.


When you truly take a look inside the operation of the present Compensation Program the list of service companies that feed off the pain and suffering of injured workers is quite extensive and costly. These cost come in two forms, the cost of the mental abuse injured workers are forced to live under and the cost the expense to the small business person,who is forced to pay.Example fishers, small roofing and painting companies and so on. Big companies such as Michelin Tire and "government" department who receive the protection under the act, do not pay, except when an accident happens.

In other words, the small business owner is carrying the cost to maintain this vile WCB system.


Once again, I reflect back to the start of my letter to you Deputy Minister and the office of the Department of Labour and why I directed these concerns to your desk, simply put, it is time to take the politics out of the Act and make it work, but make it work as it should.


Injured Workers want to be treated with respect, we are tired of being treated as a commodity which benefits so many other and such a high cost to those whose only sin was to be injured in a workplace accident.


Sincerely

Wayne Coady

Injured and Abused Workers Coalition

CC: MLA Keith Colwell
CEO of Nova Scotia Workers Compensation Board
Board of Directors of Nova Scotia Workers Compensation Board
K. Shier
Injured and Abused Workers Coalition members.


Wayne Coady 21 Ashgrove Avenue Cole Harbour N.S. B2V-1Z2



Here is a link to : Office of the Deputy Minister

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