Office of prime minister tells GE workers’s family it won’t intervene in WSIB business

February 28, 2018

An email sent by the office of the prime minister says the issue of compensation will be left to the Minister of Labour and WSIB

A letter sent to a family seeking compensation for sickness allegedly gained through chemical exposure at Peterborough’s General Electric plant says the federal government won’t intervene in the process to seek justice.

“I recognize why you have written to the prime minister and asked for assistance. While I sympathize with the situation you describe, I hope you will understand that the prime minister is unable to personally intervene in this matter,” says the letter, signed by T. Jolicoeur, executive correspondence officer for the Prime Minister’s Office.

The letter was in response to a request by Tanya Dufresne on behalf of her husband Jim, who says he dealt with cancer after decades of working in the plant.

“This has been an uphill battle for 20-plus years in some cases. This is unacceptable in our country. I would like you to seriously look at this issue I have written about. We are worth your concern and attention,” writes Dufresne in her initial letter, dated Jan. 29.

But against her wishes, the federal government and the prime minister say they will not get involved in the process to seek compensation.

The letter from the Prime Minister’s Office goes on to say it is up to Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn and the WSIB to deal with the issue.

“As you are aware, matters related to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour of Ontario. I note that the Hon. Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour of Ontario, is already aware of your concerns and this situation. You would be best advised to continue to contact Minister Flynn,” concludes the letter. “I regret that this office cannot help you in the way you had perhaps hoped, but I wish you, your husband, and his former coworkers well in resolving your concerns.”

Alongside the PMO, Premier Kathleen Wynne also responded, telling Dufresne the issue is the Ministry of Labour’s business.


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The Peterborough and District Labour Council (PDLC) is the central body of union locals in the Peterborough area (Peterborough County plus Omemee) who are affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

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