Wynne government breaks promises to Peterborough cancer victims
QUEEN’S PARK – Today, Ontario NDP Labour critic and Welland MPP Cindy Forster called on the Wynne Liberals to follow-through on its broken commitments to hundreds of General Electric (GE) workers and retirees afflicted by cancer and other severe, life-threatening illnesses as a result of decades of toxic exposure while on the job.
“It’s unconscionable that the Wynne government continues to stall on ensuring workers and retirees from GE have the benefits they need. Not only is the government failing to ensure our compensation system is there when victims of occupational disease need it most but worse, it’s cutting back on funding to the very programs it promised would review these victims’ denied claims,” said Forster.
According to a report released early this year and put together by the GE Retirees Advisory Committee, workers at the General Electric plant in Peterborough were exposed to over 3,000 chemicals over four decades while building everything from household appliances to diesel engines and fuel cells for nuclear reactors. According to the report, 40 of those chemicals are known to cause cancer at levels hundreds of times high than what is now considered safe. Despite meeting with some of the workers this year, the Wynne government continues to stall, abandoning the workers and failing to make sure they have the benefits they need.
“The Wynne government promised to review 250 of our denied claims as a follow-up from our report," said Robert DeMatteo. “However, in the months since – it’s been clear that there’s been no transparency in that process, no consultation with anyone outside of senior ministry staff, no explanation or assurance of how process conducted by WSIB would provide any fair and independent review of those claims.”
“The Wynne government continues to make false promises to many of these workers who are suffering every single day without access to rightfully deserved benefits for life-threatening and debilitating illnesses. It’s simply not right,” said Forster.
Media contact: Eiman Zarrug, 416-325-7106