Take action in solidarity with Ralston Maise!

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Photo: Rebecca Gerster. Solidarity delegation with Ralston Maise on 23 November, 2018.

On December 10th, please take a minute to tell Tom Teahen that Ralston Maise deserves fairness from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Ralston injured his knee in June 2017 while picking berries. Even though the WSIB is supposed to protect injured workers, under Teahen’s leadership, they:

  • Refused to recognize Ralston’s accident
  • Conducted interviews with Ralston’s co-workers while the employer was in the room (i.e. a chilling effect)

When migrant workers become sick or injured on the job, they know they could be sent home before accessing the full medical care to which they’re entitled. Consequently, they often downplay workplace injuries. Similarly, co-workers who are called upon as witnesses often fear speaking out against their bosses.

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Ralston Maise with allies at WSIB. Photo: Rebecca Gerster.

If the WSIB had accounted for these realities, Ralston’s life would be much better: he could have recovered and made a decent life for himself and his family. Instead, Ralston is now dependent on the generosity of others for housing, has trouble putting food on the table, and cannot get medical care for his injury.

On November 23rd, 2018, Ralston led a delegation with dozens of concerned community members to demand fairness and compensation for his injuries. WSIB refused our request to send a decision maker to address our concerns. Instead, our delegation was met with a public relations representative.

To date, no steps have been taken to address concerns raised by Ralston and the community.

On December 10th, please take a minute to tell Tom Teahen c/o Steve Jackson that Ralston Maise deserves fairness from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). 

Call him at (416) 344-4320 and/or email him at steve_jackson@wsib.on.ca.

If you don’t receive this call-to-action until a few days later, it’s still fine to call or phone. 🙂

Sample Call

To: (416) 344-4320

Hello Mr. Jackson. I have a message for Mr. Teahen.  
My name is ____ .  I’m calling from ____(city or organization) to 
express my deep concern about how the WSIB is treating Ralston Maise,
a migrant worker who was injured at work last year. The WSIB denied 
his claim and ignored the fact that migrant workers often downplay 
injuries for fear of repatriation.  I urge the WSIB to immediately 
provide fair compensation to Ralston and change the system so that it
better protects injured migrant workers. Thank you.

 

Sample Email – please CC  j4mw.on@gmail.com

To: steve_jackson@wsib.on.ca

Dear Mr. Teahen,

I would like to express my deep concern about how the WSIB is treating
Ralston Maise.

The WSIB refused to recognize Ralston’s accident and ignored the fact
that migrant workers often downplay their injuries for fear of 
repatriation and permanent removal from the Seasonal Agricultural 
Worker Program. It then interviewed Ralston’s co-workers while the 
employer was in the room with no regard for the consequences they face
if they speak out against their employer.


The WSIB is well aware of these issues but has not taken sufficient 
steps to address them. By failing to do so, the WSIB is denying 
migrant workers equitable access to the workers’ compensation system. 

I urge you to immediately:
1. Provide fair compensation for Ralston Maise;
2. Train WSIB's eligibility adjudicators to take into consideration 
the unique vulnerabilities faced by migrant workers in their decision 
making;
3. Strengthen protections for witnesses so that they are not put at 
risk for telling the truth; and
4. Work with migrant workers and their advocates to take immediate 
and concrete steps to address the WSIB’s institutionalized racism.

I look forward to seeing these changes in effect and to receiving 
your response.

Sincerely,
(Name)

Financial Solidarity Needed for Injured Migrant Worker

Dear Friends,
We are writing to ask for your solidarity and support for an injured migrant worker who desperately needs some assistance to stay in his home.

In 2014, this gentleman seriously injured his back and leg while working on a farm in Ontario. His employer repatriated him to Jamaica with no notice, waking him up at 1 am and giving him 10 minutes to pack his things before sending him on a flight back home. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) then cut off his compensation, as they do regularly to migrant workers, forcing him to fend for himself.

He has lost so much since his workplace injury. His financial situation prevents him from getting the health care treatment he needs, and he struggles to put food on the table. Now, his landlord is trying to evict him and he needs some financial support in order to fend off the eviction.

The hope is that the WSIB will step up and provide some support, but this will take time. For right now, he needs some help to stay in his home and get him through this tough period.

Justicia for Migrant Workers is making this urgent appeal:

  1. If you can, please DONATE ONLINE at https://harvestingfreedom.org/donations/
  2. Click “special instructions to seller
  3. Write in “support for JT”.

We will be checking the instructions until February 15, 2018. If you would like to make a donation for this worker after this, please email us at j4mw.on@gmail.com so we can watch for it.

In solidarity,

Justicia for Migrant Workers

Justice for Migrant Workers

UPDATE and call-to-action with Kevon Smith:

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Thanks to the 45 people who donated in solidarity with injured migrant worker Kevon Smith over the past three days, the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) felt intense pressure to re-examine Kevon’s case. They have now allowed full compensation while he waits for his surgery. Kevon is grateful for everyone’s show of solidarity and generosity. The fundraiser is now closed.

But helping injured workers should never be a matter of charity.

Kevon should never have been obligated to make a desperate and public appeal for funds. The WSIB should have done the right thing before this public pressure. Beyond Kevon’s case, the WSIB continues to deny hundreds of injured workers the support they critically need and deserve.

Please email the office of the President of WSIB. Tell him:

  •  Workers are not disposable;
  • The WSIB should ensure they give injured migrant workers like Kevon the choice and the financial means to stay in Ontario for health care for their workplace injuries.

Please send emails to Tom Teahen, President and CEO, via Steve Jackson: Steve_jackson@wsib.on.ca. Please feel free to CC us: j4mw.on@gmail.com.