Campaign puts a human face on those neglected by WCB system

BeHumanWCB encourages workers to tell their stories to government review

Edmonton – A coalition of workers’ rights organizations is urging the WCB review panel to make the Workers’ Compensation system more human.

This fall, the provincial government is conducting a review of Alberta’s Workers Compensation Board. In order to ensure that workers are heard during this review process, the Canadian Injured Workers Association of Alberta and the Alberta Federation of Labour have partnered to create the ‘Be Human WCB’ campaign, which encourages Albertans to share their experiences with the WCB.

“We’re putting a human face on those who are being chewed up by a system that has become heartless,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “Injured workers are ill-served by a heartless WCB system. They need a system that treats them as humans, not numbers or liabilities.”

Workers’ Compensation exists to help workers who are injured at work.  Whenever possible, the system is supposed to get workers healthy enough to return to their jobs. Unfortunately, Alberta’s WCB system has not been working as well as it should.

“It’s not just my experience – I’ve spoken to worker after worker after worker who has had a terrible time dealing with the WCB,” CIWAA executive director Donna Oberik said. “The system doesn’t treat workers like people – they get denied legitimate claims and face a bureaucratic nightmare that never gets resolved. The life they knew is over. The system needs to be more human.”

When WCB turns down a legitimate workplace injury, that individual worker and their family end up paying. But the costs extend beyond that, as these injured workers end up in the public healthcare system costing all of us more money.

“Too often, the WCB has treated employers as the client instead of injured workers,” McGowan said. “They’ve focused on denying legitimate claims from injured workers in order to keep employer premiums low. That cannot continue.”

To learn more about the WCB, or to write an e-mail to the WCB review panel, visit


Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell) or via e-mail

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  • Darren MacKay
    commented 2017-12-27 15:58:29 -0700
    Some think the days of “Slavery” are over; However, they’re very much alive and Stonger than it ever has been.
    The Government Sells us to employers for Pennies per day. And When we’re injured we have our Rights Stripped from us to sue- yet the Government can sue and profit from our injuries and deaths.
  • Darren MacKay
    commented 2017-12-27 15:54:01 -0700
    Many Veterans and Injured Workers in Canada are going Bankrupt, in Poverty, On Social Assistance and Denied Medical Care- Some unfortuantely, end up in Jail, or Commit Suicide and Murder.
    Repsonse from the Federal Government’s MP Colin Fraser is that it is a Provincial Matter- but they are going to make a Committment to VETERANS.
    The Workers Comp Systems benefit WCB/WSIB EMPLOYEES, Employers, Lawyers, Government and least of all the Injured Workers.
    WCB/WSIB was Created by the Federal Government – which they Forfeited Injured Workers Rights to Sue Employers, for Compensation and Medical Care for their injuries.
    What was once the “Meredith Principles” which the WCB/WSIB were based on (in Canada), now reads like a Chapter of “Animal Farm”.
    Basic Laws (Thin Skull Rule) have been stripped from the Injured Workers, and Government has bestowed the Rights of Injured Workers, upon themselves- for which they Fine and Sue Employers for Profit.
    WCB/WSIB use their own Medical Advisors and Staff, – (some who have no expertise in the field of Medicine or law) to Deny Claims and Downplay Injuries, to FORCE Injured Workers Back to Work- which in many cases is against their Family Doctors and Independent Specialist’s Advice
    “A November report by the Ontario Federation of Labour and advocacy groups alleged the board was systematically disregarding the advice of injured workers’ own physicians in favour of so-called “paper doctors” — physicians who review medical evidence on a workers’ file without even meeting them. "

    Some Injured Workers experience Additonal Injuries through their dealing with the WCB/WSIB. WCB/WSIB avoid benefits by saying there is suitable work available, yet- this does not employ Injured Workers, not does it pay the bills. WCB/WSIB considers an Injured Workers Income for benefits- and takes into account, that if they were not working, they should not be entitled to income.

    WCB/WSIB Employees get Big Bonuses to Keep Claims Lower for the Employers- and Employers get Lower Experience Ratings and Rebated from Investments made by the WCB/WSIB from the Employers Premiums, whom are the Sole Shareholders- In this Non Profit Organization.
    Most Workers that are Pernamemtly Injured fight Appeals, for Benefits and Medical Care, for years with WCB/WSIB and most often they do not come. Many others give up because the Appeals are Exhaustive and they do not get Proper and Adequate Representation.
    The Workers Con Boards have FAILED MANY Permanently and Disabled Injured Workers around the World. There are many Permanently Disabled and Injured Workers and Veterans looking for Justice!
    You were recently on the Radio Y-95 – Talk Show “The Weekender” (Jan/22/17), but would not address these issues (and I was disconnect TWICE and could not fully present all of this information)- and you suggested that I contact you in person; to Discuss my Personal Issues-However- this should be a PUBLIC ISSUE.
    Many of these things I talk about like Lost Wages/ Health Care and Benefits for Injured Workers was supposed to be coved by Employers and the Premiums they pay – Under the WCB/WSIB SCHEME-and the "Meredith Principals- " NOT THE PUBLIC"! The “Meredith Principles” stated the Injued Worker should not be a Burden on Society!
    Every Injured Worker whom is on Social Assistance or Disability Pensions, or recieves Health Care/Medical Attention and Medication and is not able to work from their Work Related Injuries; if it is not being coved by WCB/WSIB;- as it is supposed to be Covered by the W.C.B./W.S.I.B through Employer Premiums Paid is “FRAUD UPON the PUBLIC” . That was the “Historic Compromise” the Federal Government Legislated through “The Meredith Report” which WCB/WSIB was Created. Yet; sadly many Pernamemtly and Disable Injured Workers, are being Mistreated and Denied Benefits and Medical Care through a BIAS and CORRUPT SYSTEM!
    The Nova Scotia LEGISLATURE:
    “I also have here, under the Detrimental Reliance Act, estoppel, and I believe you are in the law department, sir? Yes. I think you will understand where I am coming from here. The meaning of estoppel is assertion of facts on which another relies, assumption of position, which if not maintained, will result in injustice to another, concealment of facts. Now it is obvious here today what Mr. Gillis had told you, on February 17, 1998, the final appeal was put through and the three member Nova Scotia Appeal Court threw it back to the compensation board and told them to pay the chronic pain. This is on February 17, 1998. On February 26, 1998, this gentleman was told that there was no chronic pain. Do you understand where I am getting here with the dates? This man was misrepresented. He was misled and there was an unjust done to this man, not only to him but to other injured workers who went to these ADR hearings. What you have to understand is that you put yourself in the position of an injured worker. Now you gentlemen come to this side. Come live with an injured worker for a day and see what he goes through. You have a gun to your head when you go into these ADR hearings. "
    “It is like a gentleman told me, he said it is like taking a rubber tube or a dinghy and putting it on the government wharf and having three holes in it. They are telling you to go and swim to the Joey Smallwood. If you make it to the Joey Smallwood with that rubber dinghy with the holes in it, then we will give you what you deserve but if you don’t want to take that chance, we will give you what we think we are going to give you. Do you think that is fair to the injured worker of Nova Scotia, especially when the banks are phoning. There are people in the institutions here, they are under that much distress and duress, it is unreal. Like the kids don’t have rubber boots to go to school with in the winter time. They go home, all they eat is Kraft Dinner and hot dogs. I mean do you think they deserve this? They do not deserve this and hopefully, gentlemen, that you people, actually I am begging here today on behalf of the injured workers of Cape Breton and of Nova Scotia, that you do something to help the injured workers. This is our last shot and our last hope, is you people. “…
    Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
    “The Canada pension plan was never meant to be a disability system, but injured workers apply for CPP disability because they have a three- or four-year wait before they can get an adverse decision overturned. Other agencies now have to bear the costs—taxpayers bear the costs—of these workplace injuries instead of having the employers, who are supposed to be paying these costs, paying them. So the taxpayers pay them.”
    Some Pernamemtly Injured and Disabled Workers do not appy for a Disability Pension as they are under the False Pretence by the WCB/WSIB that they will receive Workers Compensation Benefits- when after years of Appeals they are Denied these Just Benefits and the time has expired to apply for Canada Disability Pensions.
    Colin Fraser has said the Provincial Governments and Federal Governments should work together- However; that was not his response to me during his On Air Interview. Colin Fraser, had shifted it to the Provincial Governments Responsibility. Yet; it was the Federal Government whom created WCB/WSIB and called it a “Seperate Entity”. The Federal Government had given WCB/WSIB “Exclusive Jurisdiction”, which means, In civil procedure, exclusive jurisdiction exists where one court has the power to adjudicate a case to the exclusion of all other courts. It is the opposite situation from concurrent jurisdiction (or non exclusive jurisdiction), in which more than one court may take jurisdiction over the case.
    The Federal Government, has let the Provinces Change the Legislation Dramatically to benefit Employers, Government, Lawyers, and Least of all the Injured Workers!
    These Issues have been discussed/debated and many studies have shown that the Injured Workers are not treated fairly!
    As was said in “The Meredith Report”:
    “In these days of social and industrial unrest it is, in my judgment, of the gravest importance to the community that every proved injustice to any section or class resulting from bad or unfair laws should be promptly removed by the enactment of remedial legislation and I do not doubt that the country whose Legislature is quick to discern and prompt to remove injustice will enjoy, and that deservedly, the blessing of industrial peace and freedom from social unrest. Half measures which mitigate but do not remove injustice are, in my judgment, to be avoided. That the existing law inflicts injustice on the workingman is admitted by all. From that injustice he has long suffered, and it would, in my judgment, be the gravest mistake if questions as to the scope and character of the proposed remedial legislation were to be determined, not by a consideration of what is just to the workingman, but of what is the least he can be put off with; or if the Legislature were to be deterred from passing a law designed to do full justice owing to groundless fears that disaster to the industries of the Province would follow from the enactment of it. "
    All of which is respectfully submitted. W.R. MEREDITH, Commissioner.
    Dated at Osgoode Hall, Toronto, the 31st day of October, 1913.

    ACCOUNTABILITY And FAIRNESS should be ADDRESSED at the TOP- Would you not agree?
  • Paul
    commented 2016-12-11 16:09:46 -0700
    when they deny legitimate claims, is when injured workers, or more correctly victims of workplace accidents need to take legal action on their own as individuals.
  • Patti Shapka
    commented 2016-12-06 20:58:50 -0700
    Well? after 2 years… I finally have a surgery date for my shoulder repair, with NO HELP from WCB…. according to the WCB doctors? my injury wasn’t severe enough for more tests… ( MRI ) and was then denied benefits.. and a loss of employment. My family doctor ordered an MRI which WCB denied while closing my file….I would just like to tell W.C.B that their so called * doctors/specialists * are a bunch of feckin’ QUACKS!!! and that they should be
  • Patti Shapka
    commented 2016-12-06 20:55:48 -0700
    should be ashamed of themselves working for such a crooked company, destroying lives, families and a persons self-worth… ( only to name a few ruthless and disgusting things ) … But? again, who cares? they get paid, no matter the cost of human well being. The Workers Compensation Board lives up to that bad reputation, NOT only are they not able to help the injured worker recover? the injured worker is never given a chance to heal fully, due to the stressors they cause. They ( W.C.B ), DO NOT give a shit, and unfortunately, those ( like myself ) who have been injured at work are the ones who have to suffer because W.C.B are too fucking idiotic and lazy to do a thorough search? and truly * Listen* to the injured worker… WCB is great at turning stories around to suit their case…it actually may mean they have to lift a finger and actually work for those who really need their help, and god forbid they might be wrong.. We are just a number that they like to put in their books and check off and say * see? Look we helped this person.. Yay for us! * meanwhile, as they say it they’re in the process of denying the claim! So? It just makes it LOOK as though they have helped… LMAO… Pffffttt!!!! WTG W.C.B you have proven to be the lowest ruthless scums of the earth… We are better off without this ridiculous company!…. So guess what W.C.B? YOU were seriously wrong!!!! My injury was worse than what your doctors and specialists said it is!! … Perhaps it worsened when your freakin’ physiotherapist wrenched my arm over my head.. Causing me such pain it brought me to tears! ( yes.. I reported her, and was called by my caseworker with a sorry )…Sorry didn’t help with the pain. But then again? Who cares.. As long as you get a pay cheque at the end of the month and forget the health and well-being of the injured clients that you have rejected. Nothing more to say here… It falls on deaf ears and careless hearts!
  • Petar Bajac
    commented 2016-11-28 23:06:26 -0700
    I agree with your statement
  • Lyle Emsland
    followed this page 2016-11-28 15:55:59 -0700
  • Anthony
    commented 2016-11-24 19:34:41 -0700
    This is so true! The WCB are criminals! They always have an excuse to fuck you over because you didn’t report the injury. Well how is that possible when many injuries are caused by long repetitive work and can take years before the signs of injury will arrive? Example: You shovelled a lot of clay/boulders and cement out of basements by hand. You constantly hit the boulders and chunks of cement buried in the clay with your shovel. The hard impact with the shovel, hitting the boulders and cement, drives the impact right up your arm. Sometimes it absolutely hurts when you hit a buried rock or chuck of cement that you can’t see! The pain level is instant and very overwhelming. Unless you are a doctor, or an older experienced hard worker who knows what can happen to your body when you do this type of work, you will have no clue that you are causing permanent damage to the cartilage in your elbows and your shoulder. As you get older, this will turn into arthritis which can take several more years before it appears. By then you may have already changed your career to a job that is not so physical, such as becoming a truck driver, but this arthritis is still going to come and this is when WCB says, “FUCK YOU” because you didn’t report the injury when it happened! Well how can you when you had no idea you caused a permanent injury? You thought you can just shake it off and keep working!
  • Susan Russell
    commented 2016-11-23 12:40:28 -0700
    I have had 3 claims in which they were all denied and I have the paper work
  • Gordon Swaitkewich
    commented 2016-11-22 23:02:36 -0700
    Yeah. Off 2 yyear on ddoctor orders because the WCB in all their wisdom caused permanent injury instead of properly treating me.

    I’m permanently embroiled in appeal after appeal.

    Now they are trying to buy me out with 18000 $ vs paying me out based on wages of 180000 $ oF lost wages