View from Labour, April 24, 2009

Submitted by Jack McLeman
A former PADLC President
On Tuesday April the 28th we will once again we will be meeting at the Steelworkers Hall on Montrose Street to remember those who have been killed or injured on the job. The service starts at 10:30 AM so be there
early to get a seat. Two minutes silence starts at 11:00 AM.
In the early 1990s the workers and companies in Port Alberni pioneered a Disability Management Program for workers injured or sick due to workplace and home injuries. The program was very successful as the WCB, Long term and Short term disability plans, ICBC and the companies joined the unions to make it work. The first Disability Institute was in North Island College. Since then the rehabilitation of workers has gone in two directions. The National Institute for Disability Management and Research has grown to the point where the Provincial Government has granted them University status and they are looking to locate back home in Port Alberni. The NIDMAR programs under the direction of Wolfgang Zimmerman and Brian
Payne are recognized world wide.
However, here at the birthplace of Disability Management the out look is less than good. During the first decade of operation the Disability Management Program run at the Somass Mill and other work places
rehabilitated many workers back to their original job. However a recent report out this week shows a drop in both WCB rehabilitation budget and loss of earnings pensions. The rehab budget in 2002 was $130 million and it now is just $3 million. The Loss of Earnings pensions kept workers and their families economically viable while healing and rehabilitation took place. By stopping the funding to rehabilitate workers back to their job, the need for LOE pensions grows. Cuts to both make B.C. one of the worst jurisdictions to be injured. With the current high stress levels on most jobs this news in very disconcerting. When you remember the dead and injured on Tuesday, also think about how we can reverse the attacks on injured workers. With a Provincial Election coming up, query all the candidates on this subject at the All Candidates Meeting May 4th at Echo Center. We each are only one breath away from personal disaster. Work safe and don't take short cuts just to save a few seconds on the job and you may never need the assistance from WCB, but if the unthinkable happens we will need all the assistance we can get.
For a full copy of the report go to