Letter to the Editor

What could chamber be thinking? Open letter to Brad Cathers, Minister responsible for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety…

What could chamber be thinking?

Open letter to Brad Cathers, Minister responsible for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board:

I am writing to you in regards to the review of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and SafetyBoard as requested by the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.

I never cease to be amazed by groups like the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, which think nothing of spending thousands of dollars on outside consultants who have little or no knowledge of the issues.

It is obvious that, had the learned professor fully researched the subject, he would have found there exists a workers’ compensation board adjudication agreement with the Alberta workers’ compensation and federal government to cover federal government workers in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

This arrangement was forced on the federal government in 1965 when insurance companies refused to cover federal employees in the territories because their lawyer considered federal employees transient, as they rotated from Ottawa every one or two years and, therefore, were not considered permanent residents of the territories.

Prior to the establishment of the Yukon Workers’ Health and Safety Board in 1972, all companies working in the territories were legislated under Commissioner’s order to purchase private insurance policies to cover their employees for injuries or sickness in the workplace.

This protection program supplied by the insurance companies was administered and adjudicated by the Alberta workers’ compensation board on behalf of the insurance companies, which provided no local administrative staff to assist territorial companies or injured workers in processing claims.

Everything was processed long distance via correspondence, phone or telex.

If your claim was turned down and couldn’t be resolved by the above means you had to find your way to Edmonton, find a lawyer and present your case to the Alberta workers’ compensation board at an adjudication appeal hearing.

This arrangement was so unsatisfactory that in the early 1970s labour unions and companies small and large petitioned to the Commissioner of the day to pass legislation to form a Yukon Workers’ Compensation Act, which resulted in the 1972 act being proclaimed.

I find it strange that Rick Karp would say a BC official of the workers’ compensation board advised they could incorporate Yukon workers with less cost when Ottawa is charged a 23 per cent administration fee to adjudicate claims on behalf of federal workers with Edmonton workers’ compensation.

These arrangements don’t lose jobs, but actually duplicate jobs and slow down the process at extra cost.

Everyone agrees that the rates seem high in comparison to the 1970s through 1990s when there were many more mines operating (considered high risk).

There are many causes for accidents; starting with attitude, poor training and lack of job safety orientation, to name a few.

I hope that any review of the Yukon Workers’ Health and Safety Board will solicit views from stakeholders before any radical changes are considered.

Frank Bachmier, retired safety officer, Whitehorse

Why war on drugs is being lost

Re War on drugs is blowing up in our faces, expert warns, (the News, February 22):

Writer Lawrie Crawford has given us an outstanding article. I do hope the powers that be are paying even a little attention.

As a taxpayer I am very uncomfortable paying for this insanity. (The feds have been doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the outcome to change).

But wait, it gets worse! The taxpayer-subsidized pharmaceutical industry spends millions to teach us that if we have pain (physical or emotional) we should take drugs.

We needn’t worry about the why, just take this and we’ll “feel better.” Quite a lesson for the children!

My tax dollars pay for a “health-care” system, which promotes the use of these drugs and discourages other approaches that could help people sort out the causes of their pain (naturopathic and chiropractic doctors, masseuses, and physiotherapists, as a few examples).

It really does look like it’s all about money.

At least with drug dealers I can choose not to give them my money.

F. Chandler


Wonky priorities in Watson Lake

Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie:

Why does our liquor store parking lot get plowed before the hospital and schools?

The hospital makes people healthy. The schools make people smart. The liquor store makes people drunk.

Shows where our priorities are, doesn’t it?

Dale Worsfold

Watson Lake