Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WCB hostage taking analysis

An interesting article has popped up on the Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences about the WCB hostage taking in 2009.

Perceived injustice in injured workers: Analysis of public responses to an injured worker who took Workers’ Compensation Board employees hostage” thematically analyzes the personal narratives about WCB submitted by posters on public news websites in the wake of the Patrick Clayton hostage taking

While the article is not particularly critical (it basically concludes that incorrect worker information is an important factor in worker dissatisfaction with workers’ compensation), the article does have some interesting bits as pieces.

The authors identified six themes evident in reader posts: retribution/retaliation; justice; perceived systemic mistreatment; empathy; disbelief and loss. Perceived systemic mistreatment by the Alberta WCB was present in 84% of narratives reviewed.

While obviously not a statistically generalizable sample, this analysis does suggest significant dissatisfaction among posters. I thought this quote also made a fairly compelling point:
The most evident examples of the degree of suffering, and unbearable suffering, experienced by some of the (posters) were the narratives from family members recounting an injured worker whose retaliatory violence was not directed at the WCB system, but rather appeared internalized to the point of resulting in attempted or completed suicide. (p.7)

Overall, this article is an interesting tin opener into the effect of Alberta’s workers' compensation system on workers.

-- Bob Barnetson

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