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Insurance board to investigate rubber workers’ claims
The Workplace and Safety Insurance Board announced that it would be re-examining over 300 claims filed by rubber workers in the region.
These claims, dating from 2002 until 2017, had not been previously allowed.
“I am very deeply concerned by recent reports about the very serious health issues facing people who worked in the rubber industry in our community,” said Elizabeth Witmer, the chair of the board, in a statement.
According to a news release, the review will look at both cancer- and non-cancer-related claims.
The claims had been submitted from rubber workers at several companies for a variety of illnesses.
Virginia Mackenzie’s husband Ross worked at BF Goodrich for almost 40 years before he died of cancer.
She believes her husband was working in unsafe conditions. She says she filed a claim through WSIB but was denied.
“Don’t they understand that these people gave their lives to their jobs?” she wondered.
MPPs in Kitchener and Waterloo are pushing to bring the issue to Queen’s Park.
“I’m optimistic, but sort of cautiously so,” says Laura Mae Lindo, MPP for Kitchener Centre.
She says the process is complex and time-consuming, and many families being re-examined have already waited years.
She says she and fellow MPP Catherine Fife in Waterloo would make sure that the government heard these stories.