Former Rubber Workers Urged to Attend Occupational Disease Information Sessions

KITCHENER-WATERLOO – Many years after rubber manufacturing plants left the region, former workers and surviving family members are being urged to attend information sessions in Kitchener this month to investigate occupational disease cases and potential compensation.

WHAT: Ontario Rubber Workers Project information sessions

WHO: Former rubber workers living with cancers and other illnesses, as well as surviving family members of deceased workers

WHERE: Holiday Inn Kitchener-Cambridge Conference Centre 30 Fairway Rd. S., Kitchener

WHEN: Thursday, March 28, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
             Friday, March 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
             * Presentation of relevant information to be held March 28 at 1 p.m.

The special sessions will be held at the Holiday Inn Kitchener-Cambridge Conference Centre, on March 28 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on March 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I strongly urge former rubber workers diagnosed with cancers and other illnesses, as well as surviving family members of deceased workers, to attend these important information sessions,” said Marty Warren, Ontario/Atlantic Director of the United Steelworkers (USW), a partner in the Ontario Rubber Workers Project, which is organizing the sessions.

“Participants will receive friendly assistance and support to help document their cases,” said Warren, a former tire builder in Kitchener-Waterloo with first-hand experience of workplace exposure to industrial chemicals and toxins.

“Former workers and surviving family members should bring with them as much information and documentation of medical and work history as possible in order to review their cases and possibly pursue compensation claims,” Warren said.

Over that last several years, hundreds of former rubber workers who filed claims for compensation benefits saw their claims denied, Warren noted. The information sessions later this month will welcome those former workers and their survivors so they can have their cases reviewed, as well as workers and family members who have not filed claims previously, he added.

“We know that many rubber workers have died from workplace exposures and many others are struggling with cancers and other occupational diseases,” Warren said. “We believe many of these workers may have been wrongly denied compensation benefits in the past and we are committed to ensuring that they and their surviving family members receive the justice and dignity they deserve.”

The information sessions and the Ontario Rubber Workers Project are a joint effort by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), the Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA), the United Steelworkers, the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) and the Rubber Town Workers Alliance Group.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) also is collaborating in the project. The WSIB  has announced it will re-examine more than 300 compensation claims previously filed by rubber workers and that it also will consider new claims.

Former workers and surviving family members are encouraged to register in advance for the March 28-29 information sessions, either by phone at 1-888-596-3800, or by email at rw@ohcow.on.ca.

Further details on the Ontario Rubber Workers Project, including information that former workers and family members should bring to the information sessions, are available at:



For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario and Atlantic Director, 416-243-8792
Sylvia Boyce, USW Ontario and Atlantic Health, Safety and Environment Co-ordinator, ‪905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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