This video tells the important story of the struggles for justice of injured workers in Ontario from the early 1900s to the present day. Using historical records such as testimony from Royal Commissions, letters from injured workers to government and Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) officials, photographs and video clips, “Their Only Power Was Moral” highlights and analyses:
- Sir William Meredith’s 1910-13 Royal Commission into workmen’s compensation laws and his principle recommendations that have come to be known as “Meredith’s Principles.”
- How the demands of injured workers and unions from the 1920s to the early 1960s led to improvements in benefits, rehabilitation, and pensions
- How the post World War II boom in manufacturing and construction came with a sharp increase in back injuries and other occupational illnesses that prompted the collective organization of injured workers and the formation of the Union of Injured Workers (UIW)
- How the struggles of injured workers in the 1980s defeated government attempts to eliminate life long pensions while securing annual cost of living increases and the establishment of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal
- Changes in laws and regulations in the last two decades that have stigmatized and marginalized injured workers, making it increasingly difficult to have claims accepted and pushing injured workers into poverty
- How the injured workers’ movement is remaking itself through education and mobilization to continue to fight for justice.
“Their Only Power Was Moral” was created by the Injured Workers’ History Project