April 28th is the National Day of Mourning. This is my 2-minute Members’ Statement on the important issue of worker safety and the much needed reform in WorkSafe BC.
On the National Day of Mourning, we remember workers who have died, were injured or became ill from their job. We recommit to protecting workers and preventing further workplace tragedies.
This is also a day to ask ourselves: are we doing enough to improve health and safety in the workplace? Are we providing adequate care to those who have lost a loved one or fair compensation and effective rehabilitation to those who have suffered an injury or illness so they can return safely to their workplace and be productive in their employment.
I’ll never forget the conversations I had with an injured construction worker in the steam room at our local recreation centre. He shared with me that he was being pressured back to work by WorkSafeBC, even though he still had limited functionality in his hand. He was worried about his future, worried about the lack of strength in his hand and the vulnerability that that could create for him on the work site.
There have been a number of reports recently about how to best reform WorkSafeBC to provide fair and just compensation to injured workers and greater accountability at WorkSafeBC. The most important for updating the Workers Compensation Act is the 2019 Patterson report with 100 recommendations that require our immediate attention.
I know members of this House have family members who have been impacted by workplace injury and illness. We’ve all heard from constituents who are seeking fair and just compensation and greater accountability for WorkSafeBC. Let’s take this opportunity to recommit to addressing the important recommendations in the Patterson report and meeting our responsibility to workers who have been disabled on the job.