According to a new policy of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), individuals who suffer a work-related injury or illness can now be forced to relocate within Ontario in pursuit of job opportunities – whether or not any actual job offer exists – or else lose benefits they would otherwise be entitled to under a government-created workplace insurance scheme.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is concerned that this coercive relocation may cause economic, psychological and practical difficulties for the injured worker and their family. A person dealing with a new disability may be forced to uproot from their home and their community at a time when they are particularly in need of support. This will of course also have an impact on the worker’s children and partner, and may adversely affect other sources of income in the family.
The coercive relocation of individuals because of mere job opportunities is antithetical to notions of individual choice, dignity and freedom. This is, furthermore, a discriminatory policy that serves to further harm an already vulnerable group, and as such is open to legal and constitutional challenge.
Despite the fact that the WSIB’s public consultations are only taking place in full several months after the implementation of these new policies, CCLA has taken the Board on faith that it will consider stakeholder input seriously and written to the WSIB urging it to rescind its policy of coercive relocation, and to respect and uphold the autonomy, dignity, and equality rights of people with work-related impairments, temporary or physical disabilities.
To view CCLA’s letter to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, please click here.