21 Migrant Injured Farm Workers call the WSIB President to demand accountability and change on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


On March 21st, Injured Workers Action for Justice (IWA4J) and Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW) organized an action to support injured workers in their demand for immediate change to the racist and discriminatory treatment they receive by the WSIB.

Check out the full press release and photos from our action below!


March 21th, 2023

CALLING FOR ACTION: 21 Migrant Injured Farm Workers call the WSIB President to demand accountability and change on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

On March 21, 2023, Injured Workers Action for Justice (IWA4J) and Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW) will be organizing an action to support injured workers in their demand for immediate change to the racist and discriminatory treatment they receive by the WSIB.

In recognition of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination this March 21st, 21 migrant injured workers will be calling the WSIB President to tell their stories of how the WSIB process is racist and worsens the physical, mental and emotional state of workers who have suffered a workplace injury.

Last year these same workers wrote an open letter to demand change to Ontario’s discriminatory workers’ compensation system and the systemic racism they face at the WSIB. Since that letter there has been zero change and zero accountability from the WSIB. This year workers will be calling in to the WSIB because many migrant injured workers are no longer here in Canada. Following a workplace injury, many migrant injured workers are repatriated and forced to recover from their injuries back in their home country. Canada’s racist immigration laws and the WSIB’s discriminatory practices make injured workers feel powerless by isolating them and breaking up injured worker communities. Workers understand this and instead are building power through transnational solidarity and actions. Injured workers’ support and solidarity knows no borders.

On the call to the WSIB president, workers will speak on two main issues: their horrific experiences of improper health care support and the racist reality of the practice of “deeming” workers.

The WSIB Must Provide Real Healthcare for Injured Workers

Because of exploitation and unsafe labour practices, migrant workers are at heightened risk of becoming injured on the job.

Once injured, many injured workers, and especially migrant injured workers, face difficulties with improper health care support as they recover from their workplace injury. The WSIB does not provide proper funding of medical treatments and medications that are necessary for workers to recover properly. The WSIB also does not listen to the recommendations that healthcare providers provide to injured workers. Instead, they often override a worker’s doctor’s recommendation with their own doctor’s opinion. This opinion does not benefit the worker because the WSIB’s doctors have not established a strong clinical relationship with the worker. In fact, the WSIB doctors’ opinions are often given without them even meeting the injured worker.

For migrant injured workers, many of whom are racialized, these issues are magnified. Following injury, migrant workers are often forced back to their home country by their employer. The WSIB does not provide them with supports that would allow them to stay in Canada to receive proper healthcare. Instead migrant injured workers are forced to find treatment on their own in their home country. Often these countries do not have accessible healthcare for workers to help them recover from the complex injuries they suffered working here in Canada.

The reality is that once a migrant worker is injured, Canada and the WSIB often force them deeper into poverty and downloads all healthcare and worker compensation onto the backs of people in the Global South.

The WSIB Must Abolish the Shameful and Racist Practice of “Deeming”

The practice of deeming allows the WSIB to cut injured workers’ benefits by pretending (or “deeming”) that they are working and making money in a suitable job in Ontario. This practice of cutting benefits using fake wages by the WSIB makes injured workers feel disposable and drives many injured workers into poverty. This unfair and make-believe practice is even worse for migrant workers.  For migrant injured workers these Ontario jobs are not actually available to them because they have been repatriated and forced back home.

For interviews and additional information, please contact:

  • Sang-Hun Mun (Injured Workers Action 4 Justice):
    • Tel: 647-832-1514 /E-mail: iwaction4j@gmail.com
  • Chris Ramsaroop (Justicia 4 Migrant Workers):
    • Tel: 647-834-4932 / E-mail: j4mw.on@gmail.com 




Take action in solidarity with Ralston Maise!


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.


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 
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.


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:


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.

URGENT call for solidarity with injured apple worker Kevon Smith


We are calling on supporters of Justice for Migrant Workers to please show solidarity through your material resources through the following Go Fund Me campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/helpforkevon

Kevon Smith, a migrant worker and father of five, suffered serious injuries while working on a apple farm near Simcoe, Ontario.

After his workplace injury, Kevon’s employer attempted to send him back to Trinidad and Tobago. Kevon knew this was not right, resisted and remained in Canada to access health care for his injuries and fight for  workers’ compensation from the WSIB.

Kevon’s doctors told him he will likely need surgery, but WSIB still refuses to provide him the financial support that would enable him to get it.

IAVGO Community Legal Clinic is helping Kevon challenge this unfair decision, but his status as a migrant worker excludes him from accessing other forms of income support programs. This means that at the moment he is far from home, severely injured and virtually penniless.

We are asking if you can provide some financial support as soon as possible to help Kevon with living costs through this crisis. He needs the funds now and will be able to access it within days of your donation.

Kevon is the sole breadwinner for himself and his young family.  This crisis has made them destitute. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Human rights delegation for injured migrant worker Robert Sulph

On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a community delegation launched a human rights complaint against the Workplace Safety Insurance Board. The delegation included members from the Injured Workers Action for Justice (IWA4J), Justice for Migrant Workers, J4MW and the Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario (IAVGO).

After submitting the application, we went to express our support for the Toronto Black Lives Matter Toronto Tent City in front of the Toronto Police Department.

The complaint involves Robert Sulph, a former migrant farm worker from Jamaica who was seriously injured on a tobacco farm in Delhi, Ontario in 2013. After returning home to Jamaica, his health condition has deteriorated as a result of WSIB policies that racially discriminate against migrant workers and their access to health care under WSIB. You can read more about Mr. Sulph’s story here