Injured migrant worker to get partial benefits

September 18, 2018
Article Source
Law Times

A Jamaican migrant worker who was injured while picking fruit at an Ontario farm will be eligible to receive partial benefits for loss of his earning power, after a decision by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.

The man received legal help from the Industrial Accident Victims' Group of Ontario, which argued that he had a right to the benefits under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Maryth Yachnin, staff lawyer at the Industrial Accident Victims' Group of Ontario, says the ruling is the first of its kind, because it opened the door for migrant workers to receive benefits past the 12-week mark if they're injured on the job.

"Essentially, it gives migrant workers a chance at equal access to benefits, whereas before, they had no chance," says Yachnin.

Yachnin says migrant workers who are injured on the job in Ontario "get a fraction of the benefits that Ontario workers get, even if they have just as serious injuries and are just as unable to work after injury."

In the case, a Jamaican man seriously hurt his back in August 2008 while he was working at a farm picking fruit as part of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

In September 2008, he returned to Jamaica.

"The worker stated that, following his injury, he has had difficulty bending and lifting, and that he has been unable to perform farm work. He stated that, following his injury, because he has not been able to perform farm work, he has not tried to return to Ontario to work under the SAWP," said the decision.

IAVGO, which is a non-profit legal clinic, said in a submission to the tribunal that the man had received "almost no compensation for his losses" and argued that the tribunal should order the board to pay the worker for loss of earnings after October 2008, based on wages he would be able to earn in suitable employment available to him in Jamaica.


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