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OPINION: CEOs benefit as workers lose

Dean Connor, CEO Sun Life Insurance of Canada
(File Photo)
Dean Connor, CEO Sun Life Insurance of Canada (File Photo) - The Guardian

Change rules, policies to deny workers' rights and insurance for those who paid into it

BY LYNNE THIELE

GUEST OPINION

The story, ‘Benefits not burdens.’ In The Guardian last month, should be more fully developed. Two researchers stated the obvious as they studied how Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) cruelly rejects many who should qualify for benefits and previously qualified for benefits but are now denied.

It is becoming the norm to hear of people who are being denied benefits. It might be with Employment Insurance, Veterans' Disability, or workers who find themselves asking Sun Life of Canada for sick leave.

Individuals face complicated documents that are made to discourage and wear them down. Many will be denied and if they are strong enough to appeal, they risk their health as they try again and ask doctors to fill out the forms again. Doctors spend many hours on this unpaid task, which grows by the day.

Sun Life employees fill out computer sheets, deny the claim, and then the same employee denies the appeal. Check out your own workplaces and see if Sun Life is now in charge of your benefits. Don't believe anyone who says a little note from your doctor will do. Twenty-seven pages may not do.

The CEO of SunLife Insurance, Dean A. Connor made $8 million in 2011 which was his first year there. His success with this business named him CEO of Year 2017. "He loves technology and has a thing for his digital assistant named Ella." (Business Financial Post.)

Employees cut and paste information as they are now trained. For example, you went back to work to clear your desk? That means you are fit for work despite your documented condition. You are denied. In the end, a month's pay is lost and retirement is seen as your only recourse.

is no coincidence that the ones being hounded from workplace are close to retirement and will be replaced by new workers with smaller salary, less holiday time, and sick benefits. Their own supervisor will be rewarded for cost saving. Although it's anecdotal, this seems to be happening in health, education, crown corporations and businesses.

Did you see Rex Murphy asking how a 94-year-old vet could be denied a place in a nursing home? Ask the computer program and talk to the hand. The program is based on rejecting the individual's benefits and giving the CEO a raise.

After reading that the camp for children with Type One Diabetes was now closed, I tried to find the salary for the CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Society but it wasn't available. Ditto for the CEO of the VAC.

Pensions and benefits are being lost and CEOs are being rewarded with bonuses and raises. Anger began to build when Sears closed and when the owners of Tim Hortons couldn't stand to see employees get a minimum wage raise and took back the money for themselves.

It all comes down to individuals who are up against corporations or government agencies who have changed the rules and policies to deny the workers' rights and insurance for those who paid into it. This is a fast growing national disgrace caused by neo-liberal policies and it must be identified and stopped like a plague.

- Lynne Thiele of Stratford is a retired teacher and a social and political activist.

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