Ontario's labour ministry reviewing CFLPA's workers' compensation concerns

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TORONTO — Ontario's labour ministry says it's reviewing concerns brought forward by the CFL Players' Association and other professional athlete unions.

A spokeswoman for Monte McNaughton, Ontario's minister Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, said that the review is part of the provincial government's larger plans to improve compensation for injured workers.

The statement comes after a lobby of athlete unions led by the CFLPA called for changes to workers' compensation across Canada.

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"We need to improve our compensation system for injured workers," Sydney Dubin said in a statement. "That is why our government launched a review of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) and installed new leadership at the agency last year.

"Over the coming months, we will continue to make changes that put injured workers and their families first."

Pro athletes are currently exempt from workers' compensation across Canada, and it's up to each province to determine if it will extend them coverage.

If one does, coverage would only apply for games played within that province.

"We're pleased the Ontario government has recognized this inequity," said Brian Ramsay, the executive director of the CFLPA. "We look forward to sitting down and discussing this issue in greater detail."

The unions have targeted British Columbia as the first province in which to press the issue because WorkSafeBC, its workplace safety agency, sets its own policies so changes wouldn't have to come through legislation.

Ontario has the most professional sports teams of any province in Canada, with three CFL franchises as well as teams in Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NHL, AHL, NBA, G-League, National Lacrosse League and others.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press