Landmark decision rules WSIB practice that limits compensation for injured migrant workers breaches the law

Posted
October 5, 2017

From an IAVGO news release: In a historic decision, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal ruled that WSIB policy breached the rights of Michael Campbell, an injured migrant worker from Jamaica. Since 2008, Mr. Campbell has undertaken a valiant fight for justice for himself and countless other injured migrant farm workers.

In a landmark decision, the Tribunal ruled that the WSIB's way of reducing compensation to migrant workers "abrogates the requirement set out in the Act". It ordered the WSIB to provide Michael compensation based the type of job that is available to him in his home country, and not a job that is unavailable to him in Ontario.

Michael Campbell

Michael Campbell is a migrant worker and father of four who decided to come to work on an Ontario farm to improve his children's lives. In 2008, after working for almost ten years putting food on the tables of Ontario families, Michael injured his back in an accident on a peach farm.

As a migrant worker, Michael is tied to one employer, does not have any form of labour or social mobility and does not have permanent immigration status in Canada. After his injury Michael had to return to his home country. His injury has caused him to lose his livelihood and his ability to work in Ontario. He and his family fell into poverty.

The WSIB's policy eliminates migrant workers’ benefits:

The WSIB's decision in Michael's case was based on its policy to end migrant workers' compensation as if they can live and work in Ontario, even though they cannot. The WSIB tells migrant workers, like Michael, that they can do at least a minimum wage job in Ontario and cuts their compensation as if they were doing that job - even though that work is not available to them.

Michael didn't think this policy was fair. He fought for nine years to bring his case to the Tribunal. Last week the Tribunal agreed with him and said that the WSIB's policy was not fair and not legal.

Read more: Landmark decision rules WSIB practice that limits compensation for injured migrant workers breaches the law