Conference programme


Afternoon (1:00 –  5:00 p.m.)

Historical Bus Tour 
Labour historians Craig Heron and Robert Storey present Toronto’s working class history while guiding us through key sites in workers’ compensation history:

  • Meredith’s home and final resting place
  • Queen’s Park and the storming of the legislature
  • The ‘birthplace’ of the Union of Injured Workers
  • Osgoode Hall – where Meredith wrote his “Final Report”

Evening at Osgoode Hall    

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.   

Registration and Cash Bar

5:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Press Conference

6:15 – 6:30 p.m.
Welcome to “No Half Measures: Workers’ Compensation 100 Years after Sir William Meredith”
♦ Steve Mantis (Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups) and Carol Elston (University of Guelph)

6:30 – 6:45 p.m.
“Introducing Sir William Meredith”
♦  Marion Endicott (Injured Workers’ Consultants)

6:45 – 7:30 p.m.

7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Keynote presentation:
Introduction: Steve Mantis

“100 Years of Workers’ Compensation: Are The Needs of Injured Workers Being Met in 2013?”
♦  Professor Katherine Lippel   (Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety. Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa)



Theme: Evolution and Critique


8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.
Introduction: John McKinnon (Injured Workers Consultants)
Sid Ryan (President, Ontario Federation of Labour)

9:10 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Presentations: Meredith’s Principles, Past, Present & Future
Introductions: Orlando Buonastella (Injured Workers Consultants’ CLC)

“Turning Over in his Grave? Sir William Meredith and Workers’ Compensation in Ontario”
♦ Robert Storey (Professor of Labour Studies and Sociology, McMaster University)

“Workers’ Compensation: Deterioration and Possibilities for Change”
♦ Terence Ison (Professor Emeritus, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University)

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Meredith’s Legacy Respondent Panel
Introductions: Terri Aversa (Ontario Public Service Employees Union)

Maryth Yachnin (Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario Community Legal Clinic)
Jim Sayre (Community Legal Assistance Society, British Columbia – retired)
Larry Maloney (Pictou County Injured Workers Association)
Sherree Backus (United Food and Commercial Workers)

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Changes for Injured Workers Through the Years
Orlando Buonastella  (Injured Workers’ Consultants)
Alberto Lalli  (Industrial Accident Victims’ Group of Ontario)
Terri Aversa (Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union)
Dolly Coelho (Injured Worker, Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union)
Neeky Dalir-Nakhjavani (Daughter of an Injured Worker)
“An athlete never stops: a dramatization”
Steve Mantis (ONIWG)
“My 30 Years of Experience with the System”

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
100 Years of History: Grand Discussion
Moderator: Carol Elston

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Keynote Session: The International Dimension
Introductions: Robert Storey

“The Role of Insurance in Workers’ Compensation Justice”
♦ Martha McCluskey (William J. Magavern Faculty Scholar, SUNY Buffalo Law School, University of Buffalo)

“Compensation in New Zealand: Current Boundaries of Radical Reform”
♦ Richard Gaskins   (Proskauer Chair in Law and Social Welfare, Brandeis University, The Hague)

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Taking A Closer Look: Case Studies
Introductions: Jennifer Pothier (Niagara North Community Legal Assistance)

“Experiences of Linguistic Minorities with Workers’ Compensation in Ontario and British Columbia: An Analysis of Case Law Narratives from Appeal Decisions”
♦ Stephanie Premji (School of Labour Studies, Dept. of Health, Aging & Society, McMaster University)

“We’re Not Worthy: Farmworkers, Firefighters and Workers’ Compensation Exceptionalism in Alberta”
♦ Bob Barnetson (Labour Relations, Athabasca University, Alberta)

“Back-to-Work Experiences of Permanently Injured Workers: Are Older Workers Disadvantaged?”
♦ Rebecca Casey (Dept of Sociology, McMaster University), Peri Ballantyne (Dept of Sociology, Trent University)

3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Meredith Sittings Reconvened
Introductions: Marion Endicott

“What did they say?” A skit based on the transcripts of the 1910-1913 Sir William Meredith Royal Commission

“My Pension Stops on My 65th Birthday When My Brain Injury Goes Away”: Interim Report from the Reconvened Meredith Sittings in Ontario, 2013
♦ Robert Storey  and Carol Elston


Occupational Health and Safety and Injured Worker Awards Night with Banquet Dinner [details]     Note: Separate registration required



Theme: Pathways to change


9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.
Welcome & Announcements

9:10 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Keynote session: Workers’ Rights, Human Rights and Workers’ Compensation
Introductions: John McKinnon

“100 Years in 20 Minutes: Injury and Recovery in U.S.Workers’ Compensation”
♦ Les Boden  (School of Public Health, Boston University)

“Assessing the Meredith Principles Under International Human Rights Standards”
♦ Jeffrey Hilgert  (School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal)

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Panel: Fixing the Fractures
Introductions: Marion Endicott

“Moving Workers’ Compensation from Disability to Ability”
♦ Christie Harper  (Office of the Worker Advisor, Ontario.)

“Workers’ Compensation and the Impacts of Restructured Economies”
♦ Danielle Allen  (Faculty of Law, University of Victoria)

“Experience Rating:  Nothing New Under the Sun”
♦ David Wilken  (Building Trades Worker Services)

“Learning from the Past; Organising for the Future
♦ Alec Farquhar  (Director, Office of the Worker Advisor, Ontario)

“Bridging the Divide:  Injured Worker or Disabled Person?”
♦ John Rae (OPSEU Disability Rights Caucus, Canadian Labour Congress, Disability Rights Working Group)

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Panel: In Response
Introductions: Mary Hanson

Margery Wardle (Eastern Region Representative, Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups)
Peter Bird (Chair, Board of Directors, Injured Workers’ Consultants)
Ellen MacEachen (Scientist at the Institute for Work & Health; Associate Professor with the Dalla Lana Institute of Public health at University of Toronto)
Nancy Hutchison (Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour)

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Meredith Reconvened: Panel and Plenary Discussion of 2013 “Meredith” Interim Report
Bob Barnetson (Labour Relations, Athabasca University, Alberta)
Wendy Knelsen (London Injured Workers’ Group)
Sari Sairanen (Director, Health, Safety & the Environment, Unifor)
John McKinnon (Injured Workers’ Consultants)

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Visions of Hope and Action
Introductions: Aidan MacDonald (Injured Workers’ Consultants)

SkitJustice Humanely and Speedily Rendered

“The Platform for Change”
♦ Laura Lunansky (Injured Workers Consultants)
♦ Marion Endicott (Injured Workers Consultants)

“Cover Me – WSIB” – A video presentation

“Principles of a Fair and Comprehensive Workers’ Compensation System [Stanhope Manifesto]”
♦ Harry Goslin (President, Ontario Compensation Employees’ Union)
♦ Tony Dinardo (Treasurer, Ontario Compensation Employees’ Union)

3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Grand Panel and Plenary:  Where are we now and how can we move forward?
Introductions: Alberto Lalli (Industrial Accident Victims’ Group of Ontario)

Martha McCluskey (William J. Magavern Faculty Scholar, SUNY Buffalo Law School, University of Buffalo)
Orlando Buonastella (Injured Workers’ Consultants)
Richard Gaskins (Proskauer Chair in Law and Social Welfare, Brandeis University, The Hague)
Laurie Hardwick (Organization Services Director, Ontario Federation of Labour)
Les Boden (School of Public Health, Boston University)
Karl Crevar (Past President, Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups)
Jeffrey Hilgert (School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal)

4:45 p.m. – 5:00p.m.
“Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will”
♦ Steve Mantis and Carol Elston