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From the Desk of Xstrata Nickel's Compensation, Health & Welfare Officer - November 2011
Published: November 8, 2011

I would like to provide an update from the Compensation Health and Welfare office. I am currently dealing with several accommodations. The Company and the Union are at an impasse on a couple issues. One issue has been ongoing since April of this year. This office feels that the work being offered is not suitable and is moving ahead on arguing the valid points.

Next we have the new alcohol and drug policy that the Company has rolled out. Within the framework of Disability Management, I have asked for Disability Management's view on accommodating when a positive test happens. The Union will continue on and we are expecting an answer on this.

Important information regarding WSIB:

I must be very clear that you should report all work-related injuries on Form 6 in a timely fashion. If not filed, this would eliminate your injury for health benefits and any loss of earnings when and if time off is needed for future surgery, and or a partial loss of earnings if you are placed into modified work. The Form 6 and information package are available at the JHSC office on site. If you are not sure of the process, make the call to Union Compensation Health & Welfare office and get the needed advice. Do not assume. There have been many unfavorable changes to the system. Cover your butt – do not fall into the trap.

Furthermore when the injury has happened and you have a Return to Work slip, make sure that you fill out a continuity form on a periodical basis. When visiting the family doctor, have your doctor keep notes on your chart of compliant. This will help you down the road if you have a flare up and need anything covered under WSIB.

Medical confidentiality & Privacy:

Generally the Company does not have any right to a person's confidential medical information, including medical condition, diagnosis, medical history, treatment plans, examinations and tests including results. Any right the Company has to medical information stems from their legitimate business interests and their obligation to provide a safe workplace for their employees.

This means that the Company can only have the right to request information when they have reasonable grounds, if they can prove it is necessary in order to provide a safe workplace.

Since your medical information is yours and only yours, the Union wants to bring to your attention that signing a medical consent release will allow Great West Life to share your medical information with Occupational Health at Xstrata. There would be certain situations where it could be to your benefit. Once again make the call to the Health & Welfare Officer for further clarification to find out if this would be in your best interests.

WSIB is somewhat different. If the Company appeals the claim, then they have access to the medical information related only to the claim in question and at that point, WSIB will forward a document to the injured worker or his representative to review the file and object to any medical information on file that is not related to the claim before the file is sent to the employer.

PENSIONS:

I receive many calls from our pensioners when they hit the age of 65, unaware of reductions that occur with the Company pension. Please note that when you reach 65 years of age, your payable pension is "$56.00 x years of service" (for example for every 10 years of service this would work out to $560.00). If you retired with 30 years service, this would be $1,680.00 per month. If you retired with less than 30 years the supplemental top-up of "$24.00 x years of service" is also ended when you turn 65.

Again if you are unsure, make the call.

Keep safe.

Yours in Solidarity,

Denis Chartrand,
Compensation, Health & Welfare Officer

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