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For Thelma Blanchard, the physical and emotional toll of her workplace injury has been immense.

“There are a lot of things I can’t do anymore – it has affected my life,” Thelma said.

In 2014, Thelma began working as a general labourer at a Toronto meat packing factory. There, she packed and taped boxes, packaged products, lifted heavy boxes, and operated machinery. She lifted items weighing more than 60 pounds, pushed and pulled heavy metal racks and boxes multiple times during her work day. The “constant repetitive movements” took a toll on Thelma.

“I worked through a lot of pain, but I couldn’t take it anymore,” she said. “I was in pain every day, but it got worse. I was in tears in the morning and tears in the afternoon and when I came home because I was in so much pain.”

In October 2019, Thelma reported the onset of shoulder pain. Two years earlier, she had also reported shoulder pain due to her work duties. Thelma’s injury meant she was sometimes not able to work. She knew she needed to take action to protect her health and applied for WSIB to help cover lost earnings and physio expenses.

“I felt a lot of burning and very sore because of work,” Blanchard said. “It was so much fast paced work."

Initially, Thelma had handled the WSIB case herself but the difficult bureaucracy and paperwork proved to be too much. The WSIB Eligibility Adjudicator denied her initial claim, and the Appeals Resolution Officer also upheld the decision. That’s when Thelma decided to turn to her union representative, who worked hard to assist her and connect her with the union’s WSIB department.

“I reached out to the union – they helped me with the paperwork, went to the tribunal, and won my case. I would say, ‘Go to the union, they can help because they were able help me with my case.’”

President Wayne Hanley commended the WSIB department for their hard work.

“UFCW 1006A is proud to have highly skilled union representatives who are experienced at helping injured workers navigate the WSIB process,” Hanley said. “We have the expertise and resources to protect our members and ensure they get the compensation they are entitled to.”

UFCW 1006A encourages members who are injured to reach out to their union representative for help and information right away, particularly if they receive any documentation from WSIB. If their WSIB claim is denied, members should contact the union’s WSIB department right away.

“Injured workers face a lot of stress and anxiety and it’s important to remember you are not alone,” said Martha Villeda, Local 1006A's WSIB Advocate. “Your union is there to help provide guidance and information and help you navigate through the often difficult WSIB process.”

Click here to visit our online WSIB section for more information.


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