More than a decade of rejected compensation claims from workers at General Electric’s Peterborough, Ontario, factory will be reviewed, after concerns that workers who were exposed to chemicals missed out on redress,
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has announced a dedicated review team will look into 250 disallowed claims filed since 2004.
"We want to make sure we are applying the latest science and evidence to make decisions about these claims," WSIB’s vice president of complex claims Armando Fatigati announced on Monday.
"The Peterborough community has presented information that helps clarify the exposures people had to various chemicals and substances. We'll be looking at what they were exposed to, how much of it they were exposed to, and how long people were exposed to these chemicals and substances."
In May, a report led by health researchers described an “epidemic” of illnesses in former workers who manufactured parts for trains, appliances and even nuclear reactors at the plant.
Since 1993, WSIB had received 2400 claims related to GE’s Peterborough plant, with 80 percent of claims allowed.
The review will look at both cancer and non-cancer related claims, with a focus on:
- Some types of cancer where updated scientific research supports linkages between specific levels of chemical exposures and specific illnesses.
- Claims where advances in technology may allow next-of-kin to be identified who had previously not been.
- Claims where a greater understanding of the intensity of exposure and/or number of agents exposed to, may impact the decision.
Fatigati added that there may be new claims yet to be filed, and appealed to the plant’s former workers to get in touch with WSIB.
"If you worked at GE Peterborough and think you may have a work-related illness but are not sure you have a claim with the WSIB, we want to hear from you. If you qualify for additional health services or benefits, we want you to get them as quickly as possible."
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