Dr's Notes Jun. /98

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WSIB Claim File Memo #33 & 35 – June 29 & 30, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

In memo 33, Ms. Figueiredo states that due to a preexisting condition of DDD, which she claims prolonged recovery, she applied a 25% Secondary Injury Enhancement Fund – SIEF. This means the employer will only be responsible for 75% of the claim.

In memo 36, the WSIB allocates 25% SIEF relief to the employer.

WSIB Claim File Memo #34 – June 29, 1998:
The WCB/WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.
In this Board memo #34, dated June 29, 1998, the adjudicator explains that she performed a claim file review and the actions she would need to take as a result of the WSIB appeal decision of April 17, 1998. In the memo, Ms. Figueiredo states the issue for this memo was benefits beyond February 28, 1998.
Ms. Figueiredo then provides a basic review of what she claims happened. She states that I was paid benefits from Feb. 7/97 to Mar. 10/97 and from Mar. 17 to Apr. 28/98.
Ms. Figueiredo states that on Aug. 20/97 I claimed a recurrence of my injury. The recurrence was denied by the WCB because there was no medical treatment between Apr. 28/97 and Aug. 20/97, and the fact that I never complained at work and I was performing my regular duties.
Ms. Figueiredo then states a second medical review was conducted by the WCB UMA (medical consultant) and again he denied there was a medical connection between my problems of Aug. 20/97 and my work injury of Feb. 6/97.   

I really felt like I was not a human being,

I felt like I was the employer’s broken property that they wanted rid of! 

It was at this point I realized the goal of the WSIB, Dr. Holtby, and the employer was not to help me, but to get me off WSIB benefits. To make sure I would never get any form of retraining.

I also told the Nurse that I was paying for private treatment, which was attending a gym and chiropractic/physiotherapy treatment. I explained to her that it was recommended by my doctor. She told me that the WSIB would likely not pay for the physiotherapy even though my doctor recommended it, nor would they pay for the gym membership. It is clear she completely ignored what was reported by my doctor and myself. Any health concerns that I or my doctor had was ignored. She also never mentioned the functional abilities form, which was considerably different from the REC report and also recommended treatment. 

Board memos 33 & 35

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​My Family Doctor Completes the Functional Abilities Form – August 13, 1998:
On August 13, 1998, my doctor completed the functional abilities form. When I spoke to my doctor’s office about when the form was sent, they explained to me that he had completed the form late in the afternoon and it was left for the next day to be sent out.
From the examination my doctor performed on me on August 12, 1998, as well as the REC report of August 7, 1998, my doctor completed the WSIB Functional Abilities Form. 

In the form I stated the following:

  • My WSIB claim number,
  • My address, SIN, date of birth
  • My employer addresses
  • Stated type of job as driver/unloader
  • Stated area of injury as “back, back of neck, head”

In the form my doctor states the following:

  • Examination was conducted on August 12, 1998, however my doctor completed the form on August 13, 1998 not in my presence.
  • My doctor states area of injury as “low back and neck”
  • My doctor stated that rehabilitation treatment was required
  • My doctor stated that I was not capable of returning to unrestricted work

My doctor then stated the following restrictions:

  • Walking as tolerated
  • Standing as tolerated
  • Siting as tolerated
  • Lifting floor to waist less than 10 kgs
  • Lifting waste to shoulder less than 10 kgs
  • Stair climbing as tolerated
  • Ladder climbing as tolerated
  • Limitation of bending twisting of back
  • Limitation with repetitive movement of back
  • Limit physical excursion to mild


  • He recommended work hours to be graduated
  • He stated a full recovery was expected
  • He stated limitations are estimated to be in two months
  • He stated he completed the form on August 13, 1998, which I was not present.​     

My Letter to the WSIB – September 10, 1998:
On September 10, 1998 I wrote a letter to the WSIB. In the letter I mention that I received and was acknowledging a letter from the WSIB dated September 2, 1998. I was also inquiring the status of my injury/recurrence. I wanted to when I would be paid benefits for the period of February 1998 to present. I then explained what I had done to show the WSIB I was more than co-operative. The following is what I informed the WSIB I had done in my letter to them:


  • I was placed in a modified work program through ACS, who was acting as the employer on my file. I also mentioned to the WSIB that when I was expected to do four hours per day during the graduated hours, I ended up dropping back down to two hours per day. Then this was to slowly progress back up to eight hours per day. I explained that I was not working in my employer’s workplace I was instead working somewhere else processing produce, working in a freezer. 

As soon as I got home, I called my doctor’s office for next available appointment and I got the next day.

This is the second accident that happened to me and I reported to my employer since my first accident of Feb. 6/97.

The employer never reported either accident and was never held accountable by the WSIB – not surprisingly!

WSIB Functional Ability Form Aug. 13/98

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My Call to My Employer Regarding Modified Work – August 17, 1998:
I called Pam Saddlemyre at about 9am on August 17/98. When she answered, she explained to me that I was expected to be working at Pride Pak. I explained to her I did not receive the functional abilities form from my Doctor yet. So, I was unable to agree or perform work that I was unsure if it was suitable for me or not. I informed her my doctor’s office was to call me when it was ready to be picked up. She explained to me that she had received the form on Friday morning. She also informed me that she had left me a message on Friday afternoon and she had expected me to be at work and not sitting at home. She demanded to know why I had not returned her call right away on Friday afternoon - August 14/98. I explained to her as we previously discussed I was out looking for work and as a result, I was given an interview the next day - August 18, 1998. I advised her I would not agree to any work, until I seen the functional abilities form from my doctor, so I would know what I could do or not. I told her I would obtain it from my doctor’s office and get back to her.

It was obvious from the tone of Ms. Saddlemyre’s voice that she was very upset with me and she did not believe that I did not have the form from my doctor. She accused me of lying.
I got upset with her and reminded her how the employer has been nothing but deceptive with me and the WSIB with my claim:

  • when they lied about when I had complained form May 97 to Aug. 97,
  • when I reported the second accident on July 9/97 and they never reported to the WCB,
  • when the WCB asked the whereabouts of Monique Rivard and they claimed she had moved, when she never moved.


I informed Ms. Saddlemyre I would obtain a copy of the functional abilities form and get back to her. I also explained to her that I needed August 18th to attend a job interview for a job that maybe suitable. She reluctantly agreed. I had to remind her that this is what she had told me previously to do.  

WSIB Claim File Memo #41 – August 27, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

This memo was prepared by the WSIB Nurse Case Manager, N. Denoo. She stated that she received a call from the employer regarding the return to work plan. She indicates that the employer made a specific plan to gradually increase hours in the modified work program. She states it gradually increases 1-2 hours per week.

This is quite interesting in that the employer waits almost a week after me working before they send the return to work plan to the WSIB. I believe it was so they could claim I agreed when I didn’t.  

Dr's Notes Jan. - May 8/98

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WSIB Claim File Memo #43 – September 2, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

This memo was prepared by the WSIB adjudicator Fern Figueiredo. She stated she had called and spoke to Ms. Saddlemyre, a representative of my employer. Ms. Saddlemyre explained that she had created a return to work plan for me and the plan is according to the Regional Evaluation Report (Dr. Holtby report of Aug. 7/98). Ms. Figueiredo noted according to her and Ms. Saddlemyre it was the best course of action for me. Ms. Figueiredo also noted that the Regional Evaluation Report (Dr. Holtby report of Aug. 7/98) stated a full recovery is expected within 6-8 weeks.  Ms. Figueiredo also noted that Ms. Saddlemyre stated it was the best way to ease the worker back into work. Ms. Figueiredo stated that she agreed.

The first concern I have with this report is that it states no investigations. If they were both really concerned about my health and well-being why would they not request or recommend further investigations. I say this as I had reported symptoms and injuries other than in my lower back. Further investigations would have revealed accident and subsequent injuries there.

In this report they state the diagnosis as mechanical low back pain. There are two concerns with this. The first is that my injury was back and neck injury, they intentionally left off that. Even in the specialist’s report by Dr. Nguyen he states mechanical back pain, not low back. The second was as you will see in his complete report he states the diagnosis was guarded, but here he says nothing of this.

In the prognosis they state complete recovery in 2-3 months. This is problematic when one considers that I had suffered from this injury at this point for more than a year and a half. The WSIB policy on healing times for this injury is 3 months. Then Dr. Sauls the family physician documented several times since the fall of 1997 that my injury had plateaued.  This was also again confirmed in Dr. Nguyen’s report in February 1998. Another concern is that like the diagnosis he does not mention the fact that in his complete report he states his prognosis is guarded and would also later to be proven to be completely wrong! It is obvious they are ignoring the past medical history, as well as past medical opinions. One only has to look at who is paying them to understand why they do this.

In the next two items they state medical restrictions and limitations. I wrote to Dr. Holtby and asked him to explain this, but he provided no viable explanation. I disagree that there is a distinction. If you have a disability there are things you can and cannot do period! It is easy to argue effectively that if I was to lift heavy items and hurt my back this would cause structural harm to my back. Secondly, they use the word “heavy”. I am surprised to see such a statement from a so-called specialist. One who should know the difference between subjective – heavy and objective – 20-30 pounds. Now I am stuck with what does “no heavy lifting” mean. To my employer that meant lifting 70-75 lbs., so less than 70 lbs. is ok. However, others may say heavy is anything over 30 lbs. or more. In Canada there is a department of the government called Human Resources Development Canada – HRDC. Anything you want to know about work there is where you go. Every few years they provide a list all jobs in Canada. They also provide the working conditions, educational requirements and other information. They also provide a widely accepted scale of what limited, light, medium, and heavy is. According to this they state heavy is lifting more than 20 kg which is 45 lbs.

Employer letter to Me – August 24, 1998:
The employer, Pam Saddlemyre sent a letter to me which was dated August 24, 1998. as previously mentioned Pam Saddlemyre works for ACS Automation as confirmed in the fax header at the top of the page when it was faxed to the WSIB.  It should be noted that ACS Automation has changed their name to Pivotal Integrated HR Solutions.  ​In the letter she states the return to work plan at Pride Pak with graduated hours as stated by my doctor in the functional abilities form and provided the following dates:

  • August 17th until August 21st I was to work two hours per day
  • August 24th until August 28th I was to work two hours per day
  • August 31st until September 4th I was to work four hours per day
  • September 7th until September 11th I was to work four hours per day
  • September 14th until September 18th I was to work six hours per day
  • September 21st until September 25th I was to work eight hours per day
  • September 28th until October 2nd I was to work eight hours per day

In Ontario (Canada) the Ontario Workers Compensation Board - WCB, was changed to become the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board - WSIB.

Also the Workers Compensation Appeals Tribunal would change and become the Workplace Safety & Insurance Appeals Tribunal - WSIAT.

  • She indicated that I had informed her I was only able to tolerate three to four works per day at modified work


  • She indicated that I informed her I would have to lay down after the 3-4-hour period due to the pain and stiffness in my back and neck.


  • She indicated that I informed her that I remained going to the Gym with a personal trainer using strengthening exercises, swimming and I informed her I attended three to four times a week. She never mentioned that I told her this was something I was paying for on my own. Even though the WSIB had recommended I do this


  • She also noted that I informed her that I was seeing a chiropractor again I was paying for this on my own.


  • She also noted that I had inquired about retraining and I made reference to the letter to the WSIB of September 10, 1998.


  • She noted that she informed me that according to the regional evaluation report (Dr. Holtby Report of August 6,7/98) that retraining is not needed at that time.


  • She noted that I will request my family doctor to submit information to the WSIB. In response she noted that she advised me to ensure that it is objective medical findings, which would be required.  


​She noted in the plan portion of the memo

  • That in six to eight weeks is when the modified program is anticipated to be completed


  • She also stated she would continue to monitor


​Ironically, she never made mention of my doctor’s functional abilities form, which clearly stated I need treatment and was intentionally ignored by the WSIB. They only referred to the REC report because it was the most favourable most cost effective for them. 

Regarding “objective medical findings”. There are two terms people sometimes are confused by objective and subjective. Objective is measurable such as the temperature outside is 25 degrees Celsius (sorry I’m Canadian eh!). whereas subjective would be it is hot outside. The issue is that subjective is more of an opinion. However, when dealing with professionals their opinions although subjective are actually very valid and have been contrary to what this nurse claims medical science can be very subjective. On the caselaw page of my website there is actually a WSIAT decision which explains the WSIB MUST accept subjective medical evidence and opinions, but typical in my case they clearly were refusing to.   

Regarding the anticipated completion date of the modified work program, remember Dr. Holtby did state his prognosis (when I should be recovered) was guarded which meant he cannot guarantee the outcome and caution should be used, but again in my case the WSIB completely ignored this and went with the most cost-effective way of doing things. Also, there was additional medical on file showing I had not recovered and recovery was not possible. It is clear the WSIB single this report out for they liked it.

 The WSIB never once monitored the file, they would always act in a reactive way, rather than in a proactive way. To most, monitoring would be to communicate with the parties to determine the status on a weekly basis. She never contacted me, I contacted her. She never contacted my employer, my employer contacted her. She never once spoke to my doctor. 

Recent Complaint to College of Physicians & Surgeons – 2017:
I recently upon great reflection filed a formal complaint again Dr. Holtby to the college of physicians and surgeons of Ontario. This doctor, in my opinion was not acting in the best interests of his patient – Me! His sole priority was to ensure the employer and the WSIB would not have to spend money on me. To me he did nothing but harm to me. As oppose to the oath doctors take to

Do no harm!

The issues that I raised with the college against Dr. Holtby was as follows:

  • Dr. Holtby refused to properly document my concerns:

I had explained to Dr. Holtby that even though I was not fully recovered physiotherapy was helping me with managing the pain, and increasing mobility. However, he was more concerned with the costs of physiotherapy to the WSIB. This is why he refused any formal treatment after his examination and assessment of me. He also never reported that I told him I had an accident and injury to my entire back, neck, and head.

  • Dr. Holtby intentionally and knowingly provided an incorrect diagnosis:

Doctor Holtby in his written reports stated I suffered from mechanical low back pain. However, upon closer review of the evidence that I have provided: I suffered an accident where many items fell and hit my entire back, neck, and head; I suffered an injury to my entire back, and neck. I was treated for on at least three separate occasions an injury to my entire back and neck. However, the treatment was prematurely stopped, therefore I was not able to fully recover from my accident. Furthermore, the working environment was extremely hazardous where workers were routinely injured including myself. I told him this. I even had a documented second accident and provided a letter from a supervisor confirming I was experiencing ongoing problems.  

  • Dr. Holtby was extremely aggressive, rude, and unprofessional:

In all my visits to doctors in my entire lifetime, I have never come across a doctor who acted so unprofessionally and disrespectfully towards me. It was obvious to me he blamed me for my accident, he blamed me for my injuries and he blamed me for my prolonged recovery. I was also very concerned that during his examination while I was performing the range of motion movements, he had physically moved me to the point that it caused me great pain and suffering. Until I met Dr. Holtby, I always believed that doctors had a higher sense of professionalism that they were always respectful of their patients. However, now I do not believe that.

  • Dr. Holtby intentionally and knowingly provided an incorrect prognosis:

In reviewing all the evidence that I have provided, it is obvious to me that the prognosis was one that a person just recently suffering an injury to just the lower back and would have a recovery time for 6-8 weeks. However, what has haunted me for the last twenty years is how he can justify that I had the injury for more than a year and a half and I would be fully recovered in 6-8 weeks and with no formal treatment. The second concern I had on this was he blamed me for any failed recovery, like it was solely up to me and no one else. The final and greatest concern I had with this issue and Dr. Holtby was that once his prognosis was found to be wrong, he should have owned up to it and corrected any mistakes. Instead he refused any visits or conversations, which he admits in his letter. I have no doubt that me returning back to regular work and believing what he said is what has caused my permanent injury and suffering.

  • Dr. Holtby failed to provide any further investigation:

When Doctor Holtby made the covert assertion I was making up the pain and/or subsequent injuries by using the term functional overlay, why did he not investigate further with ordering a psychological review? If he had he would have learned there was nothing wrong, but additional injuries he had intentionally missed.
If there were areas that he could not obviously explain with pain, why did he not investigate further with say an MRI, which is a deeper scan of an x-ray. In his reports, why did he not indicate he asked if I had other injuries or problems causing this additional unknown pain. He did not because I did report to him I had additional injuries which he refused to acknowledge.
In my limited research, I learned that “Functional Overlay” is a term not recognized in the field of psychiatry or psychology, but is commonly used to discredit a patient seeking benefits from insurance companies and/or workers compensation. 

  • Dr. Holtby never declared his personal/professional conflict of interest he has with the WSIB who paid his fees:

Dr. Holtby never reported to me that he was being paid by the WSIB, as though he worked for them directly. He never informed me that he had special arrangements with the WSIB. To me him performing an examine, let alone not informing me of this prior, for the sole purpose of the WSIB to reduce their costs is nothing short of an ethical, moral, and conflict of interest violation.

Emotionally I have probably had the hardest time so far with preparing this part here. It is a crucially pivotal point in my life. This is where I could have been given a permanent impairment, and retrained to perform a suitable job at no wage loss, as I should of but was not. To this day I still do not understand why the Doctor hated me so much. To caused me so much emotional, financial, and physical suffering. It has taken me a week to write this out, as I would have to keep coming back to it.

Employer's letter to WSIB Aug. 14/98

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Doctor letter Jul. 13/98

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Phone Conversation with Employer – August 5, 1998:

I had received the letter, mentioned above on about August 5, 1998 from Ms. Saddlemyer claiming to be the employer. As I previously explained she was not my employer. When I spoke to Ms. Saddlemyer. She appeared to be very upset with me for two reasons. The first was that she could not reach me by telephone. She was trying to claim it was my fault, that my employer did not update my personal records. The second was that the employer has had modified work since Jan 1998. I explained to her that I had provided my updated phone numbers to Action Force and it was not my responsibility to ensure my personal record is updated. I also explained to her that Action refused to provide me suitable modified work since August 20, 1997 as they claimed my current problems were not work related and they felt they did not have too.

Ms. Saddlemyer explained to me on the phone the employer had many suitable jobs that would be ok for my injuries. However, she needed medical documentation from my doctor stating what I am capable of. She told me to go to action force and pick up a WSIB form called a functional abilities form and have my doctor complete the form. She informed me that I had to have this form completed for her or I would be deemed not co-operating. She said this meant that the employer would not have to provide suitable work and the WSIB would not pay any benefits.

Dr Nguyen Report Feb. 24/98

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Still, after almost twenty years now, I have wondered why the name change.

Both names serve the same purpose, but the difference was that there was a great cost in changing all: the building signs, letterhead, business cards, and forms. To say WSIB and WSIAT. Who paid for this cost? I believe it was injured workers through the forthcoming massive cuts to benefits.

Doctor’s Notes – August 12, 1998:
On the same day, August 12, 1998, my doctor noted in his notes that I had been to regional evaluation centre. He noted that in the report from the centre, they recommended independent exercises, as well as modified duties for 6-8 weeks. They also recommended against any further treatment, such as physiotherapy. My doctor also noted that he will send the functional abilities form in. He also stated I was not improving as anticipated.

I discussed my concerns with him as to the regional evaluation report and the recovery time. He explained that the report was merely a recommendation to him and it is not set in stone. The recovery times can be adjusted, if I do not recovery according to the schedule. I also discussed with my doctor that Dr. Holtby stated my injury was just to my lower back. Even at that moment my neck was in great pain. He examined my neck and agreed there was ongoing problems. He explained to me that when he spoke to the WSIB that he was informed by them that the lower back injury is the only injury they have allowed and he was advised by them that is what to put as the injury.  

She never provided the timesheets as proof of nonattendance. The likely reason is that people told me that whenever I would go outside to warm up and stretch, or whenever I went to the washroom, the supervisor would remove my name from the time sheet. Also, and more importantly I had taken days off during the week of August 24-28, 1998 as I had suffered an additional workplace accident and subsequent injuries. I had reported this to my employer, by leaving a voice mail message with Ms. Saddlemyre. I informed her I was hurt on that day Aug. 24/98 and went home due to the accident/injuries. I had booked an appointment with my doctor to see on Aug. 27/98 and would update her with the status. Ms. Saddlemyre later claimed I never informed her of the accident and injury, yet it is documented in my doctor’s clinical notes.

Ms. Saddlemyre is lying when she claims I never called her, because I did and I was removed from work by my doctor. She was trying to claim I was being unco-operative, when I suffered another workplace accident. She cheated me out of my pay and started only paying me for actual hours I worked, which is considerably different from what she had told the WSIB.

The retraining program that I was looking into, both the employer and the WSIB expected me to pay for it out of my own pocket. Much like the Gym and the chiropractor. Sadly, I would have if I had the money, just to get away from that employer who was the most inhumane employer I have ever dealt with! 
 

Board letter Jun. 29/98

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Board memo 38

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WSIB Claim File Memo #36 & 37 – July 20 & 22, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

Board memo 36 was prepared by the Nurse Case Manager N. Denoo on July 20, 1998. In the memo, she states that she had a request to approve for a Regional Evaluation Centre – REC. This is medical evaluation centres where injured workers are referred to, which is to determine the level of permanent impairment. She states in the memo she reviewed the file for a REC and approve it. She states rational is to determine the following: diagnosis and prognosis, has worker plateaued, further improvements anticipated, further investigations treatment, medical restrictions, and duration.

Board Memo 37 prepared by the adjudicator Ms. Figueiredo on July 22/97. She is making this memo in reference to payment of benefits to date. She notes medical of July 13/97 and WCAT decision and states NCM arranging REC to rule on Maximum Medical Recovery – MMR and Permanent Impairment.    

Second Phone Call to Employer -  August 17, 1998:
On August 17, 1998, I again called Ms. Saddlemyre for a second time. I explained to her that I had obtained a copy of the functional abilities form from my doctor. I informed her I had reviewed it, but I was concerned about working at Pride Pak with the working environment of being cold and damp and I had not seen the working environment so I knew nothing of it. She told me it was suitable and I must accept it or I would be deemed uncooperative. I also again reminded her that I would be going to an interview the next day (Aug. 18/98) and would also be buying a pair of safety boots. She understood and made arrangements for me to start on Aug. 19th. This time she told me to dress warm, as I would be working in a control climate where the temperature is 10 degrees Celsius (similar to a fridge). She also explained to me the work involved working with water. I expressed concern over working at Pride Pak again as I felt it was not very conducive for someone with an injury to be working in such an environment. She explained to me that it is all the work they had and if I refused I would be deemed uncooperative The WSIB would not pay me any benefits owed nor would I be paid any wages.

Ms. Saddlemyre seemed more interested in getting me back to work, rather than finding suitable work or addressing any concerns I had. The employer could have placed me in the office at the agency, but they choose not to, instead to send me to Pride Pak.

On August 18th, I went to the interview, but unfortunately, I was not qualified enough for the position. The next day Aug. 19/98 I attended Pride Pak for Action Force’s modified work program.    
     

My Doctor’s Notes – February 11, 1998:
On February 11, 1998 I visited my doctor he performed an examined and noted in his notes increase back and neck pain. He also noted ROM.
He mentioned referral to Peel Career Assessment as well as Ortho specialist (Dr. Nguyen).
He also noted that he examined my finger that I caught in the garage door when I closed the garage door. It was painful, but nothing was damaged, just discoloration.

My Doctor’s Notes – February 18, 1998:
On February 18, 1998 my doctor noted in his notes that the appointment for the specialist was booked for February 24, 1998 at 12:30 and I was notified by his office.

WSIB Claim File Memo #45 – September 24, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

This memo was prepared by the WSIB Nurse Case Manager, N. Denoo. She stated that she had received a return call from me on Sep. 18/98. She then stated she was unable to contact me, but then she received a voice message that morning.

The nurse case manager explained the current status:

These structural changes were from the new Workplace Safety & Insurance Act R.S.O. 1997, as well as many other very bad changes that would severely negatively impact injured workers in Ontario.

Ms. Figueiredo states that the WSIB appeals granted the recurrence of Aug. 20/97 and to make reference to the appeal decision. Then she states that benefits were paid to me from Aug. 20/97 to Feb. 28/98.
In further action Ms. Figueiredo states she will send a letter to my doctor to determine further entitlement to benefits beyond Feb. 28/98.  

She stated the incorrect dates of payment of benefits. It was from Mar. 19 to April 14/97. This is when I returned to what the employer claimed as modified work. On April 28/97, I returned to what the employer claimed as regular work. I can attest that I was paid form Apr. 19 to Mar. 10 and from Mar 19/97 to Apr. 14/97.
In her memo Ms. Figueiredo states that there were no ongoing complaints between May/97 and Aug. 20/97, when as you can see by the letter from Monique Rivard there was in fact ongoing complaints. The employer lied about it, as they did about the second injury in July 1997 as well as others reported to them.
I find it unusual how she highlighted the events, which were incorrect, but did not mention anything form the appeal decision almost like she was trying to have the appeal decision reversed.    

WSIB Board memo #41 

Aug. 27/98

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I called her because I had not been paid for the period of February 1998, until present. It is amazing how she intentional delays the period for me being paid. This is what I refer to as a starve out technique. They hope you will give up or you will starve.

It is interesting that the WSIB would be concerned about the number of working hours, when they should be concerned about the wellbeing of a worker and not forcing them back to work too soon. This is a typical example of the WSIB being more concerned with costs than the safety of injured workers.

At the end of the day when I got home, I called Pam Saddlemyer and expressed concern over the working environment of being very cold and damp. I informed her I felt worse than ever before because of the working environment. I also explained to her that I was not placing lettuce leaves in plastic bags, but instead I was cutting peppers and having to lift the boxes which were quite heavy. I also informed her that there was no sit/stand stool. I had to stand for the entire period that I worked. She told me she would have a stool made available for the next day. She would also speak to the supervisor about having someone else lift the boxes for me. The next day there was a stool in the plant, but it was at the other end of the plant, someone else was using it. I mentioned it to the supervisor and she said that was tuff, I should have gotten there sooner to get it.


Everyday I would show up for work and work the graduated hours. All of the work I did was cutting peppers and processing them. I still had to lift the boxes from the floor to the table. Doing this work made my injury worse. I was not getting better, but worse. Eventually I did get the stool made available, but it was a hard stool. I needed the adjustable height chair. When I again mentioned it to Pam Saddlemyre she told me it was not possible to use a chair on the production floor. 


To me this work was completely unsuitable not modified and totally unsafe for a person with my type of work injury. I felt like my employer was punishing me and trying to get rid of me. They were trying their best to get me to quit so they would not have to accommodate me anymore. I did not like it and felt very uncomfortable doing the work.

She explains the job meets all standard back restrictions. She describes the job as putting pre-cut lettuce leaves in a small plastic bag, with ability to vary position and flexible hours and to work at own pace. She then asks the WSIB to rule on the suitability of the modified work program the employer has available.Ms. Saddlemyre then requests that the Future Economic Loss – FEL award not be completed until she receives a copy of the file.She also states that she is preparing a list of jobs that she claims are suitable for me such as a dispatching job, which provides a slight reduction in pay of 10%. Ms. Saddlemyre final states that there are other issues that she will review with the WSIB, once she has reviewed the file.​ She also states that she is preparing a list of jobs that she claims are suitable for me such as a dispatching job, which provides a slight reduction in pay of 10%. Ms. Saddlemyre final states that there are other issues that she will review with the WSIB, once she has reviewed the file.      ​

REC report to WSIB Aug. 6/98

Click to see enlarged copy of report

Dr's Notes Jan. - Mar 27/98

Click to see enlarged copy of Doctor's notes

This form which was sent directly to the WSIB, was somewhat inconsistent with what was provided to me in the hand-written summary report. In the form he provided me for example, stated full recovery in 2-3 months. He also stated limitations on the form he provided me, but said nothing to the WSIB on their form. Also, the form I was provided by Dr. Holtby never mentioned anything about function overlay. It was mentioned in the final complete report. However, Dr. Holtby never discussed this function overlay with me, during his examination nor did he explain anything about it. In fact, he never discussed anything with except that I would be fine in 2-3 months.

This "functional overlay" upon researching is in a term used to describe when a patient is exhibiting signs of symptoms from an injury they do not have. In proper medical diagnosis this is a psychological/psychiatry issue which is not even a medical accepted diagnosis. In other words, one cannot be diagnosed with this, but if they were it would have to be done by a psychologist/psychiatrist. One would ask why did Dr. Holtby not refer this for a further investigation by a psychologist/psychiatrist? The simple answer was that he was trying to explain away my other injuries that he had left off.

In simple terms Dr. Holtby was saying because I had pain and numbness in my upper back, neck, and upper extremities I must be making it up or delusional as I did not suffer an injury there. However, as I have proven with the initial report of injury form in Feb. 6/97 I did. Not to mention the second accident which was reported to my employer in July 9/97.   
  

She then states she spoke with me:

  • She said I was signing up for a gym. She stated I asked if WSIB would cover the costs of this. She referred me to the adjudicator.
  • She stated that I told her when I worked the four hours shift I was experiencing sharp pains. She stated that I would expect some pain when to return to work, but I would have to judge the tolerance to limitation and act accordingly.
  • She also stated that she advised me there would be no retraining as the Report from Dr. Holtby states full recovery.
  • She then states in the memo that the plan was to monitor my progress in my return to work program at Pride Pak.

Employer letter July 27/98

Click to see enlarged copy of Employer letter

My Doctor’s Notes – May 8, 1998:
On May 8, 1998 my doctor noted in his notes that he examined me and found that my back pain was increased and upon examination was increased tenderness. He also noted decreased neck ROM. He also noted flexion and extension examination as well as SLR (Straight leg test). Notes motor sensory and reflexes worse. He also notes that I informed him that I received a letter from the WSIB dated April 28, 1998 agreeing to my WSIB claim. He also notes that return to physiotherapy and I need WSIB retraining.

My doctor explained to me that if the WSIB approved my claim I would likely get much need physiotherapy to help me mange. He would be also recommending that I be retrained in something else as driving a truck was not appropriate for someone with a back injury, with the long periods of sitting.  

Employer Letter to me

Sep. 25/98

Click to see enlarged copy of letter

The goal of the return to work program was not to help the injured worker,

but to push them back to work as quick as possible!

Employer Letter to WSIB – August 14, 1998:

On August 14, 1998, the employer Pam Saddlemyre, writes the WSIB. as previously mentioned Pam Saddlemyre works for ACS Automation as confirmed in the fax header at the top of the page when it was faxed to the WSIB.  It should be noted that ACS Automation has changed their name to Pivotal Integrated HR Solutions.  She informs them that her letter, is further to her letters address to me of July 31, Aug. 11, and the functional abilities form of August 12. She states that this information confirms that I was fit for modified duties and a full recovery is expected in 2 months. She states I agreed to start work at Pride Pak on Aug. 17th with modified duties and at no wage loss. Ms. Saddlemyer also requests the WSIB to obtain a copy of the report from Dr. Holtby. She states the report confirms I have Degenerative Disc Disease – DDD and as a result that the employer receives 50% secondary injury enhancement fund – SIEF cost relief as a result.

​​WSIB Claim File Memo #38 – July 20 & 22, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

​This memo was a determination for Vocational Rehabilitation – VR services. In simple terms, the WSIB is attempting to determine if they need to retrain me in anyway. This is due to the amount of time on benefits which in August according to the WSIB was almost a year, but the major of the time was the delay of the WSIB appeals department rendering a decision.
There are two parts or two people writing the memo. The first part was written by a S. Palantzas and the second was by a John Chirico, manager.

Memo 38 – S. Palantzas - July 23-24, 1998:
Ms. Palantzas states in the memo, that on July 23,1998 she attempted to contact accident employer to determine if they had permanent employment that would meet my physical restrictions.
Ms. Palantzas then states in the memo that she contacted me to determine FEL/SEB. She asked a few questions of me to determine my level of education and capabilities.
She noted injury was Feb 6/97 and REO was Aug. 20/97.
She also noted that injury was “upper back/shoulder, lower back

WSIB Letter to Doctor – June 29, 1998:
In response to the WSIB appeal decision and as confirmed in board memo #34, the WSIB sent a letter to my doctor to determine the “level of impairment”. She is requesting medical documentation of my ongoing work injury from my doctor.

Just to recap the WSIB appeal decision was made on April 17, 1998. That decision was mailed out April 28, 1998. Then the issue to pay benefits and obtain additional medical information did not happen until June 29, 1998. It took the WSIB two and half months to issue and respond to the WSIB appeal decision. I mention this as later on the WSIB will attempt to mitigate their losses from their delays by saying I was not co-operating in a self-directed job search, which is not a legal requirement.

Again, this individual worked for a different company and claims to be the employer. As you can see at the top of the letter it says it was faxed from ACS management not Action Force. Some may say this is no big deal. I disagree as, they are claiming something they are not. Implying they knew the specific work I did, as well as that I worked directly with them, which I did not.  

The employer is asking for access to the WSIB file, but why now? They had chosen not to participate in the appeal process, as stated in the appeal decision letter. The also chose never to appeal the decision to the Tribunal - WSIAT. Just like injured workers, employers have thirty days to file and intent to appeal for WSIB decisions and six months for WSIB appeal decisions to the WSIAT. The real reason is for the employer to find a fake reason to say I am not injured.   

Regarding the offer of suitable work, as far as I was concerned the employer reported in the employer’s report of injury form they had no such program, why should I or the WSIB think otherwise. Had the employer notified me on Jan. 1/98 that they had a ERSTW program I would have been very happy to do it, rather than sit at home and lose everything I pose. The employer intentionally left off the fact that they had refused my and my doctor’s numerous requests for suitable work in the fall of 1997 and winter of 1998. They are saying this in a tempt to mitigate their costs.

In reality, the employer should have been found by the WSIB failing to provide accommodations for persons with disabilities. In accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code. Unfortunately for me the WSIB has no real knowledge of the Code. Not until 2007, some ten years later. However, even today the WSIB acts with total ignorance with the code regarding injured workers.

The employer describes the work has putting lettuce leaves in a bag. This is not the work I would be doing. I think that when a person agrees to, especially in a ERTSW program, that work should be the work that was described, discussed and agreed to. If any changes, they should be agreed to in writing, but this never happened. It is clear the employer says anything to get the worker and the WSIB to agree to whatever they want.

The employer is asking the WSIB to delay making a decision for a FEL award, but ironically this decision would not be made for another three and half years by the WSIB. It is likely because the WSIB did exactly what the employer wanted.

Ms. Saddlemyre says that she is providing a list of suitable jobs such as dispatching, but never provides the list to myself or the WSIB, she does later make claims stating that I was expected to look for these jobs as a dispatch on my own.
    ​

The Examination – August 6, 1998:
On August 6, 1998, I attended the Orthopedic and Arthritic Hospital located at 43 Wellesley Street, in Toronto. I was first examined by a physiotherapist V. Wilks. During the examination, she would feel for tender spots. Then she would ask me to perform movements moving backwards, forward etc. This is something I had done many times with my family Doctor Dr. Sauls. He described it range of motion examination.  After being examined by the physiotherapist, I had to wait for a long time about 30-45 minutes. My back was becoming extremely painful while I was sitting waiting. I went to the nurse and asked her how much longer until the doctor sees me. Before I could explain to the nurse that I was merely asking because I was in a considerable amount of pain. She snapped at me and said the doctor is a very busy man and he will get to me when he gets to me. I wanted to tell her I was in a lot of pain and I just wanted to go home and lay down in my bed. The examination table was a steel table with a very thin mattress, the chair was a steel chair and was not much better. It is fine for a normal person who does not have an injury, but for me I might have well have been asked to sit on a bed of nails.

After about 30 to 45 minutes Dr. Holtby came into the room. He did not introduce himself as Dr. Holtby, I only learned of his name from the report he handed me after the examination. He also never explained the reasoning or purpose of the examination.

The first thing he said to me what seems to be the problem. He said it in a very stern voice. This was to clearly show he was extremely upset with me complaining about waiting almost forty-five minutes for him. I tried to explain to him that I was in a lot of pain, before I could say anything. He snapped back I have many other patients aside from you, you know.  I just left it at that it was clear to me at this point he was very irritated with me. He then asked me to perform some movements with my body. This examination was extremely unusual in that if he asked me to bend forward or back he would take his hand if I could only go so far, and then he would push me further. This caused me a lot of pain and I even mentioned it to him and he just said well I have to see what you really can do. He then asked me about treatment. I told him I did physiotherapy at different times, but due to complications with the delays form the WSIB it was stopped. He looked at me and said well you know if you do physiotherapy you have to do it more than once a week. When I said to him I did it five times a week, because that is how often the place was open. Then he looked at me and said well obviously it is not working. He then handed me a sheet with his recommendations for returning to regular work in six to eight weeks. I noticed on the form he said the injury was just to the lower back. I mentioned to him that my injury was not just the lower back. It was the entire back, neck, and head. He replied that is what he was told what my injury was and as far as he was concerned that is what my injury was and anything I had to say was completely irrelevant.

It was clear to me he did not believe anything I said or did. I have never experienced such a doctor like this in all my life. Generally, doctors are understanding and possess some compassion, but he seemed more determined to get me back to work and off WSIB benefits more than anything else. Dr. Holtby never informed me that at the time he was being paid directly by the WSIB and reported directly and independently to them. It was clear to me upon reflection he had a very clear conflict of interest, as well as a conflict of ethics, which he did not disclose to me or on his written report.

WSIB Board memo #40 Aug. 24/98

Click to see enlarged copy of memo

The WSIB is Forced to Reverse its Position & Allow My Claim:
As mentioned in the WSIB appeal section of my story, I had won my appeal and the WSIB appeals branch granted entitlement to a recurrence, as they claimed. This was based on:

  • The medical reports from my doctor which showed my present problems were the result of my Feb. 6/97
  • I had provided documented proof that my employer lied. I did have ongoing complaints.
  • I was in a job that could aggravate a back injury and I submitted evidence proving I had ongoing complaints.


Click here to learn more about my appeal and the appeal decision.

Dr's Notes Jan. - Mar 11/98

Click to see enlarged copy of Doctor's notes

​​​Then from May 30th until August 20th I performed the tasks of driving, as well as physically unloading the load with items weighing an extremely heavy amount up to 500 lbs. Some of the smaller items would fall and hit me on a regular basis. I had reported this to Dr. Holtby and on July 9, 1997 I had documented one instance to my employer on a run sheet. Where I wrote that items struck my shoulders and my head. In a letter, my supervisor Monique Rivard wrote to the WSIB, which confirms that I had missed many days of work due to my injury of Feb 6/97. None of the work I performed from March 10th until August 20th was ever safe or suitable for a person with no injury, let alone a person with an injury to the back, neck, and head. 

  • Dr. Holtby also went on to state that I did not feel I would be able to return to my previous work injury because of prolonged sitting and heavy lifting.


This was not what was reported to him by me. This is what my doctor had determined after examining me on numerous occasions over the past year and half after the work accident. My doctor determined my work was unsuitable for me with my injuries. He had made this determination on numerous occasions, but all were intentionally ignored by the WSIB and Dr. Holtby.


History of Injury:

  • Dr. Holtby states that I was injured when a stack of bins fell onto my back.


This is incorrect and was not reported to him this way. I told him bins and boxes fell and hit my back, neck, and head. This is confirmed in the employer’s report of injury form, where it states load fell and hit my back, neck, and head, as well as a subsequent injury. Also, physiotherapy reports show treatment for injury to entire back and neck.

  • He goes on to state I did not sustain immediate severe injuries and that I was able to continue working for the rest of my shift.


This again is not what was reported to Dr. Holtby. I suffered the accident and subsequent immediate injuries with debilitating pain right away. I told him I reported the accident as soon as it happened to my employer. However, they said they did not have any replacements and I was forced to continue working because my employer had no replacement workers. I told him that I could barely drive the truck and every stop I would sit in agonizing pain. The employer attempted to cover this up by changing the removal from time from 9:05pm to 9:05am. The employer did this so they would not be disciplined by the WCB.

  • He then states I saw my doctor the next day complaining of pain radiating from my lower back up to my head.


 That is not what I had reported to Doctor Holtby. I told him I called my doctor’s office the next day and could not get into see him until the following Monday Feb. 10/97. I wanted to go to my doctor as opposed to the Hospital, because the last time I was there I waited over six hours to see a doctor. I knew I could not sit in those uncomfortable chairs waiting. During the examination, I informed my doctor that I had pain in my entire back, neck, and head. I never used the word radiating, ever! To my doctor or Dr. Holtby. I also reported to him that I told my doctor I could barely move my head, my neck and my body. He prescribed me Tylenol 3 and to be off work. I was to see my doctor again three days later on Feb. 13 at which time my doctor referred me to physiotherapy. 

  • Doctor Holtby states I was referred for physiotherapy and had two courses of physiotherapy one in September through to December 1997 and another in January to March 1998.


Again, Doctor Holtby did not report what I had reported to him. I told him I had physiotherapy from February/97 until mid-April/97 and stopped because my employer would not provide me time off to go to appointments. This is why I had missed so many physiotherapy appointments. I also tried to inform Dr. Holtby that physiotherapy was improving my injury, but it was the returning to work, which made matters worse. Dr. Holtby was more interested in putting blame on me with why I was not fully recovered. I returned to physiotherapy in the Fall of 97, but it was stopped because the WCB would not pay for it. Then in December I attend OHIP funded physiotherapy until it was cancelled by the province. Under the Harris cuts to healthcare.

  • Dr. Holtby makes mention of Dr. Nguyen’s report of Feb./98 where he states his opinion was mechanical low back pain.


Dr. Nguyen’s report stated machincal back pain, not lower back pain. Dr. Nguyen also mentions that my condition has plateaued, meaning that my medical condition would not improve. While Dr. Nguyen mentioned mild degenerative changes he also made mention of “retrolisthesis” which upon investigation is disc slippage and can be caused by and impact injury.

Current Situation:

  • Dr. Holtby states that I complained of pain in the lower back radiating up both sides of the spine into my head.


I never stated the pain was in my lower back and radiated up. I said I had pain in my back, my neck, and in my head. It is obvious to me that Dr. Holtby was attempting to hide my injuries to my mid, upper back, neck, and head by claiming no injury or accident was there and the pain was from the lower back, which was and is untrue.

Past History:

  • Dr. Holtby stated I reported no past history of work-related or other significant injury. He went on to state only medication was Robaxacet.


I had reported to Dr. Holtby that I had suffered a severe cut to my finger, which required stitches at work. I also informed him I suffered another work injury where a roller fell on my foot. He had advised me these injuries were of short term and not a concern to him. I also informed him I was being prescribed Tylenol 3’s 30 mg of codeine for pain and would also using the Robaxacet.

Personal History:

  • Dr. Holtby indicated that activity level is reduced with reported difficulty with heavy housekeeping tasks including mowing the lawn and gardening and also shopping.


These housekeeping tasks are not heavy this is his interpretation, in fact most would consider them to be mild or light in nature as there is very little lifting or heavy lifting involved.

Physical Review:

  • Dr. Holtby states that I was pleasant and co-operative, but I did demonstrate some abnormal pain behavior with somewhat exaggerated difficulty with some testing maneuvers and positive test for functional overlay.


Dr. Holtby had stated to me during the examination that he was confused why I had pain in other areas and limited mobility, when I only suffered a low back injury. It was at this point I explained to him my injury was not a lower back injury, but was an entire back, neck, and head. This then explains the pain and functional overlay. He advised me he was told by the WCB that my injury was only the lower back and as far as he was concerned that is all it was. At the very least he could have reported my concerns that I reported to him of the discrepancy of injury reporting in his report, but instead he made it appear I was making up my other injuries, which as you can see by the evidence provided this was not the case.


Musculoskeletal Review:

  • In the neck, he states I demonstrated a full range of motion for forward flexion with minimal reduction to three quarters of normal extension, and right and left side bending.
  • He stated I complained of pain in both the right and left sides of the neck with various maneuvers.


As previously mentioned Dr. Holtby states no injury to the neck area, yet there are signs of injury to the neck area as documented here. It is though Dr. Holtby is attempting to cover up additional injuries.

  • Pain was notice on light touch an axial compression testing when performed by the Physiotherapist, though less obvious when tested by Dr. Holtby.


It was not less obvious to me as both touch exams appeared the same. However, I did notice that Dr. Holtby was more aggressive towards me and with the physical examination. He clearly was not interested in helping and was more interested in pushing me back to work. This is what explains why these subjective findings were somewhat different.

Impression: 

  • Dr. Holtby stated it was their impression I suffered from mechanical low back pain. He also stated there was unusual features to the pain and numbness in feet and hands which appear to be nonanatomical symptoms which cannot be directly correlated to low back pathology. 


He does not mention that individuals with low back injuries do tend to suffer pain and numbness in lower extremities, as I have found in my research. Then an injury to the neck would explain numbness and pain in the upper extremities. It is obvious that Dr. Holtby was dismissing the complaints of additional areas of injury as nothing more than made up injuries. If he had bothered to investigate, he would have confirmed there was an accident to the areas, as well as subsequent injuries with treatment on those other areas. This proves that Doctors working for private insurance and workers compensation are NOT working in the patients’ best interests and in most cases, do more harm than good to their patients.

  • Dr. Holtby goes onto state that his prognosis would be full recovery, but states it is guarded, due to other areas of complaint.


He does not mention my concerns in his report of other injuries. This would explain the inconsistencies. Instead he says nothing and states full recovery, but attempts to protect himself from liability by saying his prognosis is guarded. What was more damaging to me as his patient, was that his reporting was inconsistent in the summary reports he provided me and the WSIB he states full recovery in 6-8 weeks and not guarded.

 Recommendations:

  • Dr. Holtby states in the report he imposes no medical restrictions. He also stated there was tolerance limitations for prolonged sitting, standing, heavy lifting, bending and driving. He stated this would last for approximately six to eight weeks.


In his letter Dr. Holtby explains his interpretation of the difference between medical restrictions and tolerance limitations. To the average person they appear to be the same. I believe he is making this up to push his patients back to work, which he knows they cannot do.

  • He goes on to state that physiotherapy treatment is not needed, just exercise and weight loss. He states that he has given advise for weight loss. He also states a return to normal work and household activities.


It is very obvious Dr. Holtby was in no way being independent or objective, in fact it was clear he was blaming me, the injured worker for my prolonged recovery. He claimed I was fat therefore this was delaying my recover. His personal opinion may have had some merit had I had previous complains of backpain prior to my work injury and was severely over weight, but according to my doctor at the time I was only slightly overweight and it was due to the injury not the other way around. 

Final Diagnosis:

  • Dr. Holtby states that his final diagnosis was of mechanical low back pain secondary to mild degenerative changes.


Again, he did not state that his diagnosis was guarded to make that his diagnosis was not guarded. I have recently learned that people with DDD do not experience any back pain, unless they suffer an accident. So contrary to what he states it is the opposite. Furthermore, as I previously mentioned there was a discovery of a slipped disc, which was misinterpreted as DDD. 

Prognosis:

  • Dr. Holtby states a prognosis for a full recovery. However, he states the recovery is in large part on me to lose weight and strengthen the back.


At the time of my injury I was less than twenty pounds overweight and never had any medical problems with my back. Therefore, the weight has nothing to do with the back problems, but more like the back problems has more to do with the weight problems.
Additionally, I explained to Dr. Holtby that the working environment was extreme in nature. I would experience frequent accidents and injuries from items falling on me. The other issue with the working environment was the amount of time at work, truck drivers spend approximately 14-16 hours per day at work, how is a person supposed to find the time or even the energy to recover. It is obvious he though my job was as safe as working in an office.


  • Dr. Holtby stated there was a concern with the prognosis as there was a considerable amount of time off work.


To me he was blaming me for anytime off work. He told me he felt all injured workers should be working and not sitting at home. Yet when I was not working, I was off due to doctors’ orders. The reasoning was that my job was a safety sensitive position, in the I drove a transport truck. He never once mentioned any risks associated with driving and my injuries and symptoms. As he noted I had numbness in the legs which is normal for a lower back injury and numbness in arms and hands which is normal for a neck injury.
​​

The Hand-Written Summary Report – August 6, 1997
This is the report that Dr. Holtby handed me after the examination. He advised me to take it to my doctor and discuss it with him. The form was completed and signed by Dr. Holtby and V. Wilks, who was the physiotherapist.

In the form they reported the following:

  • They stated it was a final report.
  • They stated there was no need for any further medical investigations.
  • They stated the diagnosis as “Mechanical low back pain”.
  • They stated prognosis for recovery was complete with an anticipated time frame of 2-3 months (8-12 weeks).
  • They stated there was no medical restrictions. These are activities which will cause harm if done.
  • They stated limitations as: prolonged sitting, prolonged standing, and heavy lifting. They stated this would have an anticipated duration of 6-8 weeks. These are stated as activities that may increase symptoms if done.
  • They stated treatment as only independent exercises that should not interfere with resuming activities.
  • They also stated the specific goals of the activities as: lumbar strengthening, abdominal and lower extremity strengthening, cardiovascular conditioning, lumbar ROM exercises. They also stated the anticipated time frame would be ongoing. 

Employer's letter to me Aug. 24/98

Click to see enlarged copy of letter

Specialist Exam – February 24, 1998:

Prior to visiting the specialist, I had x-rays done on January 20, 1998, of my lower back. My lower back was the area which caused me the greatest problems and it was the focus of my doctor and the specialist. The pain in my mid back, upper back and neck would only happen now and again depending what I was doing.
On February 24, 1998, I was examined by a specialist Dr. Nguyen. He examined me and asked where it hurt. I explained to him the worst area was my lower back. Anytime I stand for long periods the pain becomes unbearable. I also told him depending on what activities I am doing I am doing the rest of my back will hurt as well. This was the same with my neck and head. I also suffered from numbness and tingling. He examined me and prepared the following report to my doctor.
Dr. Nguyen states in his report that physiotherapy has not really helped me as I have plateaued. In medical terms plateaued means I will not get any better I have suffered a permanent injury.
He stated that forward flexion would make the pain in my lower back worse. Dr. Nguyen mentioned I had slight “retrolisthesis”.  

I never agreed to working at Pride Pak, as I was never provided the job description she is talking about. I stated to her that I would be very willing to try the work if it is suitable for me. However, I never made no such agreement on Aug. 14/98 as I never spoke to her until the Monday 17th.  This was something we had discussed earlier in the week regarding her letter of August 11/98, but there was no such agreement made. She did state to me that I must accept the work, or I would be deemed uncooperative. At which time, I had explained to her I fist had to discuss it with my doctor before I would agree to anything. Ms. Saddlemyre never discussed offering any other work aside from me looking on my own. I believe Ms. Saddlemyre sent this letter to the WSIB in an attempt to discredit me with the WSIB.  

Doctor notes of Third Accident – August 27, 1998:
The next day I went to my doctor and told him what happened. I told him I was injured while working at the modified work program. I was hit from behind by a skid when I was sitting on the stool. He examined me and said my back is very tender and sore. He said I should be ok, just take it easy and if the pain gets worse just take the medication he prescribed, if needed. I asked my doctor about working in such a cold damp environment he agreed it would not help my recovery.  In his doctor’s notes my doctor noted increased back and neck pain and stated I have a new injury to my lower back at modified duties. He also states low back tender, with decreased ROM.

This confirms that I reported another workplace accident and injury as well as having time of work as a result. However, the employer claimed I just was not going to work and lied to the WSIB.

The sad part is that the WSIB believed them yet again!

​​Pre-existing Conditions:

It is ironic as today, DDD would be considered by the WSIB as a “preexisting condition”. In civil courts this would be considered as cruel and unusual on the injured worker. The injured worker gets a deduction, based on the preexisting condition. Therefore s/he may lose half or a majority of their workers compensation benefits. In civil court, it is without question completely illegal to do. It is referred to as the "thin skull/eggshell/crumbling skull approach". It basically means that the wrongdoer must take the victim as they are. In this case the wrongdoer is the employer and the WSIB and the victim is the injured worker.

Some ten years later, I would learn from the WSIAT, that in fact the WSIB did illegally reduce my benefits as a result of what they claimed as DDD. I learned that I should have gotten a 28% NEL award, when they only gave me a 14% NEL award. This is another long complex story. Where I was able to record the WSIAT tribunal in caucus and caught them saying I should have gotten a 28% NEL as opposed to a 14%, but they did nothing about it, but mock and laugh at me. You will read about this later in my WSIAT dealings and I will even provide the audio recording so you can hear it for yourself!  

There is still a considerable amount more to tell for 1998.

When I was forced to return to regular work against my wishes and my doctors orders, by my employer and the WSIB.

I will be working on the rest of this story and hope to have it uploaded soon!

My Visit to Family Doctor – August 17, 1998:
On August 17, 1998, I called my doctor’s office and spoke to his receptionist. She had explained to me that my doctor completed the form on August 13, 1998 but that it was late in the afternoon and it was not sent to the employer until the next day. She also informed me that there was a replacement person in the office on Friday, which is why I did not get the call to pick up the form. She apologized for the confusion and I could pick up the form anytime. I went that morning and picked up the form. I reviewed the form, which was mentioned previously above. I then called Ms. Saddlemyre back. 

As I mentioned before, Pam Saddlemyre worked for ACS Automation and not directly for Action Force, who was my actual employer. This is confirmed in the letter where at the top it shows it was faxed from ACS automation to WSIB. It is very obvious Ms. Saddlemyre was trying to sell a general labour job as a safe and suitable modified job, which it was not.

Ms. Saddlemyre mentioned dispatch work and office work in her letter, but that work was never discussed with me nor was it ever made available to me. You can obviously tell in her letter, when she mentions both dispatch and office work in passing, but focusses in on the Pride Pak job, as if that is the job I choose. Why would I choose general labour work in a plant over working in a dispatch position or an office job? The answer is I didn’t choose the Pride Pak position was the only one ever offered to me. She said she faxed the job description to me and my doctor, but that was a lie she never did. She just described the work to me over the phone and she made it out like it was completely suitable when it was not. She did say I should look on my own for dispatch work or office work. In others she wanted me to quite work for them, so they would not have to accommodate my work injuries. She states the job can accommodate hours and there is no physical work. However, once I started working at Pride Pak the working conditions and environment was completely unsuitable. There was no ergonomic chair available there was a stool, which was a hard stool and half the time it was not available for me to use.

She also stated for me to have my doctor to complete the WSIB Functional abilities form by my doctor. She said I had to have this done or the WSIB would say I was not co-operating. I later learned that as I was injured as a WCB and not WSIB, which she knew, this was a lie. An injured worker having the form completed who was hurt prior to Jan. 1/98 is optional and she knew this.    
  

WSIB Memo 44 

Sep. 16/98

Click to see enlarged copy of memo

She also states that if I was ready to return to regular work prior to Oct. 2/98 to let her know, so she can make arrangements with the branch (Action Force). She also stated that if I was going to attend the computer course to let her know so she can let the branch know that I would not be available for regular assignments.

In the copy of the letter Ms. Saddlemyre sent to the WSIB there was a had written note which stated please advise her by telephone and in writing regarding the WSIB decisions about whether I was fully recovered. She also states to the WSIB in her note that she has not received access to my claim file which she requested in July 1998.


Employer Letter to Me – August 11, 1998:
On August 11, 1998 the employer sent me a letter. The letter was sent by Pam Saddlemyre.
In the letter she sates that we discussed the medical restrictions of what Dr. Holtby advised which was no heavy lifting, prolonged standing or sitting. This was to last for six to eight weeks. She also stated that employment options were discussed which would be suitable. These were dispatching she states using an ergonomic chair, allowing me to vary my position, office work, or Pride Pak. She goes on to state the Pride Pak job is set up to accommodate people with back injuries. She states it is putting lettuce leaves in plastic bags. She also states there is no lifting, bending, or twisting. She also states that an ergonomic sit/stand stool or ergonomic height adjustable chair is available. She also states that the work can be done at the workers own pace and hours of work are flexible and can be graduated. She finally states that I need to discuss the Pride Pak job with Dr. Sauls, my family doctor. I am also to have him complete the functional abilities form. She states she wanted me to fax the form and I could start work immediately.        

The REC Report to WSIB – August 6/98:
I never seen this report until some years later. In the report, which was completed by Dr. Holtby it stated the following:

  • Diagnosis as mechanical low back pain with a prognosis of full recovery in 6-8 weeks
  • Diagnosis of functional overlay
  • States that no treatment
  • States that there should be no restriction to physical activities. 


​This form which was sent directly to the WSIB, was somewhat inconsistent with what was provided to me which stated full recovery in 2-3 months. The form I was provided by Dr. Holtby never mentioned anything about function overlay. It was mentioned in the final complete report. However, Dr. Holtby never discussed this with me, nor did he explain anything about it.

This "functional overlay" upon researching is in a term used to describe when a patient is 

​​At this point she never inquired if I had any other disbaitlies ‘non-work related disabilities’. She only asked about health problems. It really didn’t matter as the WSIB at the time would not recognize any other disbaitlies aside from work related.

WSIB Board memo #42 

Sep. 2/98

Click to see enlarged copy of memo

My Doctor Notes - January 20, 1998:
In my Doctor’s clinical notes, he states he spoke with Mr. Baird of the WSIB. My doctor state sin his notes that the WSIB has denied my claim for benefits and I have no ongoing support except through welfare. He also sates he will make referral to Dr. Nguyen, referral to OHIP funded physiotherapy, and referral to Peel Career assessment. He also mentioned x-rays to be done on the lumbar spine region.

This is one of the major problems of the WSIB. That is when the employer claims work injuries are not work-related society ends up paying the price through increase OHIP costs as well as increased costs to welfare. Another concern is that my doctor said I was not fully recovered from the injury. It was not until this point that my doctor and myself realized a referral to a specialist might be more influential. The WSIB should have notified my doctor that a specialist report would have been more convincing, but instead they chose not to. This is the bad faith actions that they need to be held accountable. 

Ms. Figueiredo also noted regarding workers compensation benefits to be paid to me, she stated I was capable of modified work as of August 12, 1998, however I only agreed to return on August 17, 1998.  Ms. Figueiredo stated that on August 17, 1998 I never showed up and did not call, but when Ms. Saddlemyre called me and I had told her I had to buy boots. Ms. Figueiredo stated that on August 18, 1998 I again did not show up for work or call. Ms. Figueiredo stated that Ms. Saddlemyre called me at which time I had informed her I had an appointment with the Peel Board. Ms. Figueiredo also stated that Ms. Saddlemyre informed her that when a work is on the modified work program at Action Force they are paid full wages.

In the Memo under Action Ms. Figueiredo noted the following:
Worker capable of modified work as of August 12, 1998 therefore benefits payable to August 12, 1998. Regardless of how many hours worker works beyond August 12, 1998 worker paid full wages.

In this memo you never see where Ms. Figueiredo says whenever I agreed to start work. This is because it was not until August 17, 1998. This is when I received the functional abilities form. More importantly, if you look at the functional abilities form which they are referencing it was based on an examination of Aug. 12/98. However, the form was not completed by my doctor until Aug. 13/98 and I did not pick it up from my doctor until Aug. 17/98. Which I explained previously above. Also, why did she wait so long to pay me benefits, it is clear she was trying to avoid paying me. She never corresponded to me on this date what she decided, which is clear she is hiding the reasons.

I have recently filed a request for a decision from the WSIB to be paid for August 13, 14, 17, and 18 of 1998. I will be interested to see what their excuse is today. I fully intend on appealing the decision all the way to the Tribunal.  
 

​I find this very strange as the WSIB says my DDD is the cause of my prolonged recovery, but yet no real doctor ever admitted this. In the specialists report he only speculates, but never admits with any certainty.

Years later, I would learn in the legal community preexisting conditions are not a basis to deny a person’s claim for benefits. In the U.S., there was many lawsuits against insurance companies wrongly doing. The argument was made that people with DDD live a pain free normal life, but only when they suffer an injury, which cause long term problems. I also previously stated that what the specialist claimed was DDD was actually disc slippage, which was caused by the work accident of Feb. 6/97.I am fortunate though as today most injured workers with deemed preexisting conditions are punished by the WSIB, by them being denied benefits by the WSIB, which is an illegal practice according to the courts under the Thin-Skull/Eggshell Doctrine”.

WSIB Memo 45 

Sep. 24/98

Click to see enlarged copy of memo

Call from/to Employer August 14, 2017:
I was out looking for what I believed to be at the time suitable work. A friend had told me about a few companies hiring in Toronto, so I went to Toronto for the day. When I got back later that afternoon, I received a voice message from a Pam Saddlemyre. In her message she stated I was expected to report for work on Monday morning. I attempted to return her call, but she was not in her office.

Upon reflection, it is obvious that because the employer could not reach me, she felt that she could say I agreed, when I never even spoke to her until the following Monday, the 17th. This is why she had sent this letter to the WSIB. This was to make it look like I had agreed to work early so I would not be paid benefits for these days. 

This is the same type and size of skid of lettuce that hit my stool and knocked me to the floor.

Degenerative Disc Disease - DDD:

Regarding Ms. Saddlemyre’ s claim of DDD, what I believe happened during the accident is that when I was hit from behind my back, discs, spine, etc. was physically damaged. As a result, the physical damage was misinterpreted as DDD, when it was not.

I have recently learned of a scientific report, which effectively explains how insurance companies and workers compensation boards intentionally misinterpret the meaning of “degenerative/degeneration” regarding DDD. The report explains how people who perform a lot of heavy work such as heavy lifting over time their body is hurt by it and this causes the DDD not the other way around as the insurance companies and workers compensation boards will have you believe.    


I just want to personally thank David Newbery of Injured Workers Consultants - IWC for bringing this report to my attention and providing me a copy. 

Employer Letter to Me – September 25, 1998:

On September 25, 1998, Pam Saddlemyre acting for the employer prepared and sent a letter to me. She also sent a copy of the letter to the WSIB with a hand-written note on the bottom of the letter. Again, as previously mentioned Pam Saddlemyre works for ACS Automation as confirmed in the fax header at the top of the page when it was faxed to the WSIB.  It should be noted that ACS Automation has changed their name to Pivotal Integrated HR Solutions. 

​In the letter, Ms. Saddlemyre states that Action force had been paying me for days attended at Pride Pak. She also stated the REC report (Dr. Holtby’s report of Aug. 6/7) suggests I should be fit for regular work in six to eight weeks. She further states that six weeks would be Sep. 18/98 and eight weeks would be Oct. 2/98. She also states that based on the timesheet from Pride Pak I had not been attending the program daily, nor calling her to advise her why I was absent. As such she states she will adjust my pay accordingly.

WSIB Claim File Memo #40 – August 24, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.
This memo was prepared by the WSIB Nurse Case Manager. She reviewed the report that was sent to the WSIB by Dr. Holtby.  She stated Dr. Holtby’s recommendations which were stated as:

  • No medical restrictions, but tolerance limitations – prolong sitting standing no heavy lifting, and driving. The tolerance limitations to last for 6-8 weeks.
  • She states no further physiotherapy
  • She says I was to engage in independent exercises and I was encouraged to return to normal activities as soon as possible.
  • She sates end of eight-week period for tolerance limitations is October 10, 1998.
  • She states return to work was arranged for August 17th but due to a job interview it was arranged for August 19th.

Doctor’s Response Letter to WCB July 13, 1998:
My doctor writes the WSIB in response to their letter and explained he had seen me many times since my Injury of Feb. 6/97. He explained that I did not have formal treatment as the WSIB was refusing to pay for it. He explained I was attending a program with Peel Career Assessment but had difficulties due to pain. He also states in his letter the following: 1. My existing problems are the result of my work injury of Feb. 6/97, 2. He has made a referral for a WSIB regional evaluation centre, and 3. He states that I will eventually need job retraining as he does not see me returning to my job as a truck driver.

At this point notice, this is the second time my doctor has said basically this guy is done as a truck driver. Then not to mention the fact for a “soft tissue” injury the board policy says an injured worker would have a permanent impairment at 3 months. I note that at this point and time it is now a year and 5 months since my workplace accident and injury occurred.

You will never believe what the WSIB doctor actually says about my condition and my injury, but I will leave that for another point and time!  

When I researched this term “retrolisthesis”.  it means disc slippage, which likely means that the disc was damaged during the accident of Feb. 6/97.  He stated I suffered from mechanical back pain. Dr. Holtby would change this to just mechanical low back pain, which is a lie. There also was a study out of New Zealand which says Insurance companies and Workers comp misstated the meaning of degeneration/degenerative. Click here for a copy of that report.
After the examination I spoke to the specialist and he explained to me that I had in fact suffered a permanent injury and I will not get any better. He explained the best thing to do was avoid any kind of heavy work to exacerbate the injury.  

She then states that I would be paid for my full day regular wage for each day I work. She states it was agreed that I would begin a job search simultaneously during the off hours. She mentions a dispatching job or any other job I can find that would restore my earning capacity and by physically suitable. She also says if I need time off Pride Pak to attend interviews to let her know this would be fine.    This confirms that Ms. Saddlemyre did not send me the information about Pride Pak or the working hours, as she previously claimed. She only provided the information to me verbally over the telephone, until this letter.

I never agreed to this schedule, this is what she said was what the employer would offer and I had to accept it. She also told me to look for alternative work, i.e. dispatch work. While I was working at Pride Pak. The employer, as I mentioned before, wanted rid of me and the easiest way was to shove me in a really horrific job and encourage me to quit and go work elsewhere. That way they would not have to deal with me anymore or have to pay any further costs for my injury to the WSIB.

The graduated hours as she proposed, was unacceptable and was confirmed by my doctor. My doctor had advised me not to increase hours, but this will be discussed later. This was when the WSIB in typical fashion sides with the employer against me, my doctor and my well-being! 

​​She noted I was a single male at the time and I possessed a class ABZ driver’s license.
She incorrectly stated all vehicle but tractor trailer and motorcycle. It is all vehicle but motorcycles.  
Shen then mentioned I spoken English and had a grade 11 education and I had some computer and accounting experience from being self-taught.
In medical status, she states that an appointment was made for a REC evaluation at Wellesley Hospital. I was not presently receiving treatment or on any medication. She stated no other health problems.​ 

The nurse case manager approves the request for a REC evaluation, however at this point in time it is now a year and five months since the original injury. WSIB Board policy clearly states on dealing with REC requests that they shall only be approved within one year of the original accident date.

See any time after that then a PI should be automatic, or more accurately based on law.

In the WSIB law WSIA R.S.O. 1997 it states under definitions: 
          ““permanent impairment” means impairment that continues to exist after the worker reaches maximum medical recovery”

Then when you refer to the MMR policy it states the following on MMR:
           “A worker reaches maximum medical recovery (MMR) when there is unlikely to be any further significant improvement in

            the worker’s medical condition.”

A determining factor that is used is the WCB usual healing time chart which was previously discussed. For my injury that the WCB/WSIB stated I had was a “soft tissue injury”, which states it is three months form accident date, which would have been May 6, 1997, when I was forced to return to work.

In his letter to my doctor, the specialist confirmed I still experienced existing impairments in Feb. /98, as well as stating that my medical treatment has plateaued. The medical meaning of plateaued means that no further significant improvement is to be expected. Then my Doctor also confirmed I had existing impairments not less than a week before this request.

The Complete REC Report – August 7, 1998:
I Received a copy of this report from my doctor, approximately a week after it was prepared when I met with my doctor on February 13, 1998.

The form contained the following information:

  • Stated date of accident as June 1997
  • Said they were provided previous medical reports and reviewed them.

 
Work Status:

  • Dr. Holtby states that I performed “modified work”, which was no loading and unloading, from March 10th to 19th and then from May 30th to August 20th. This is incorrect and not what was reported to him.


I reported to him that my job was a truck driver which involved: sitting for long periods with driving; physical upper body exertion, with hooking & unhooking trailers, cranking of landing gear; lower body exertion, with climbing in and out of cab of truck, and the trailer; this was performed from March 10th to 19th and from April 14th to May 30th.

Shity hospital

​​She went on to report my employment history and the type of work I did as a driver. Drove truck physical loading and unloading etc.
Ms. Palantzas then states that the goal was to return me to “appropriate work” with the accident employer.
Ms. Palantzas then states that she confirmed with me that my pre-injury job position (of driving a truck) was not suitable, as it involves longer periods sitting, driving and heavy lifting. She also said she would discuss with employer or attempt to find a new employer.
She then stated that she recommended a referral involvement of vocational testing while they are awaiting a return call from the employer. She states this should be done on a priority basis as the information is needed.
She stated that she advised me that the employer should have appropriate work and assessment will not be done until modified duties are pursued with employer.
Ms. Palantzas then states she spoke to the employer who would offer work, which was placing lettuce leaves in plastic bags and can be done sitting or standing. She stated the employer would send a copy of the modified work description. She stated that the employer would be willing to offer suitable employment to me at no wage loss, within their obligations as a temp business. She says employer is willing to keep me on the company’s roster. She also mentions that the employer wanted medical information and their justification was to offer me suitable employment with other employers/agencies.
She goes on to state that other positions may include short driving. Then she states that no further action is required at this time as the employer is willing to offer me suitable work. Therefore, she states that no vocational assessment is required.
She then states that information is to be referred for a Future Economic Loss Award – FEL. She also stated that the employer stated should my medical restrictions change, they are able to provide appropriate work with my abilities and at no wage loss.
Ms. Palantzas then states she contacted me and advised me of her conversation with the employer. She states she explained that vocational services (retraining) is not needed as employer is willing to provide suitable work. She also stated that I agreed to return to suitable work with employer, when I am able to. She stated I had informed her I would be meeting with my doctor to discuss medical restrictions. She went to on to state that I had reported to her that my main area was my lower back but I experience pain in the neck and shoulder region.

She also stated that she advised me that medical and vocational monitoring will be managed by the claims adjudicator (now called case manager), who will follow-up with me and the employer.

WSIB Board memo #43 

Sep. 2/98

Click to see enlarged copy of memo

Employer letter to me Aug. 11/98

Click to see enlarged copy of letter

I make mention of a WSIB letter of September 2, 1998, unfortunately I can find no such letter. This does not mean that the letter did not exist for the simple reason that there was a decision generated by the WSIB on September 2 and was mentioned in the memo section. I will only say that it would not surprise me if the WSIB did remove the letter from my file, for one reason or the other. I am sure you would agree as well, if you had seen the physical disorganization of my claim file. All too often when I would take my file to representatives they would accuse me of disrupting the order and would only believe it was so badly disorganized when they received an original copy from the WSIB.

I had clearly stated to the WSIB in writing in September of 1998, that I was experiencing problems with the suitability of the return to work program and they failed to follow their own policies and law by properly monitoring the situation. They should have spoken to my doctor, followed up with me, but instead they just pushed me back to work against my wellbeing. Causing further suffering and injury.

I informed them I was doing extra things to help my recovery and doing this out of my own pocket. As a result, the WSIB was so ungrateful for my efforts, that they not only didn’t help me pay for these additional costs, they punished me by falsely claiming I was not co-operating. They also waited to pay benefits until the return to work program was almost over.

The other problem was my employer was cheating me out of my pay they were paying much less. It would take another year before the WSIB would decide that matter and rule against the employer.

The WSIB appeal said I was to receive full benefits up to Feb. 98, but then the WSIB was to determine the level of permanent impairment and pay ongoing benefits. Instead the WSIB changed the appeal decision and claimed I would be fully recovered. 

My Doctor’s Notes – June 23, 1998:
On June 23, 1998 my doctor noted in his notes that he examined me and found that my ROM in my back and neck still unchanged. He stated I informed him I cannot still get a clear answer form the WSIB. He states in his notes that I needed a regional evaluation assessment. This is what the WSIB requires whenever anyone has been considered for a permanent impairment. Ironically the WSIB has a policy which states the assessment shall only be done within one year of accident date. This was a year and a half. In other words, my permanent injury should have been automatically granted, but the WSIB was determined to make sure I would not be given a permanent injury. My doctor also stated in his notes that I needed retraining and physiotherapy.   

My Doctor’s Notes – June 29, 1998:
On June 29, 1998 my doctor noted in his notes that he spoke to the WSIB a Fern Figueredo. He said that she told him that she dictated a letter to him that day. My case with the WSIB will be reviewed after she received his response to her letter to him.  He suggested to Ms. Figueredo that I needed an assessment at the regional evaluation centre and he stated that she agreed to it. He made this request as it was the first step with the WSINB to have someone assessed for a permanent impairment.  

​​Memo 38 - John Chirico, Manager July 24, 1998:
He notes a concern that VR services, which is retraining services should be involved if benefits go beyond a year. He states that the Nurse case manager should be involved if a FEL award is anticipated.

After the Regional Evaluation report the WSIB took no action, which is something I have had a considerable amount of trouble understanding. How could a medical doctor state against two other doctors that I would be fully recovered in 6-8 weeks with no treatment and having the injury for more than a year and a half. Simple he wanted to do what the WSIB wanted him to do which was to save money. The end result was everything was cancelled by the WSIB as they wanted to save money no retraining, no FEL award, nothing.  

Learn How to Fight your Workers Compensation Board

WSIB Claim File Memo #42 – September 2, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

This memo was prepared by the WSIB adjudicator Fern Figueiredo. She stated she had received a call from me inquiring as to the current status of my claim. She stated for the reader to refer to note CS of August 24, 1998.
She is making reference to what the WSIB nurse case manager stated in memo #40 of August 24/98.    
Ms. Figueiredo stated that I wanted to know if she received a copy of the return to work plan.
She also mentioned that I had called earlier in the week informing her I had to return to work.
She stated that I returned to two hours per day. She also stated she felt this was not appropriate. She also sated she informed me she would have to speak to Ms. Saddlemyre.

Doctor's Notes Aug. 27/98

Click to see enlarged copy of notes

This person works for ACS management and I never spoke or dealt with her prior to this time, nor was I ever asked to. I had provided my employer Action Force with my updated phone numbers, but they never informed her.
Action Force was well aware that my back, neck, and head injury was not fully recovered, as they were the ones opposing it in the fall of 1997. I also provided them with doctor’s notes and letters.
Regarding the modified work, as you can see by the letter she wrote me, she does not state what the actual working conditions and work that will be performed is. She instead later discusses this over the phone so this way she can deny what is said later.

WSIB Claim File Memo #39 – July 27, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

In this memo the nurse case manager of the file explained that she received a call from the employer asking about current medical information. The employer wanted to know about my current medical restrictions. In response the nurse case manager explained that I was referred for a regional evaluation – REC. This was to determine current status. She advised the employer to obtain a functional abilities form to determine current functional abilities for job placement.

I remember getting a call from the employer ion this day and she told me I had to get a functional abilities form completed by my doctor. She explained to me I had to provide this information if I did not I would be deemed not co-operating. In reality the employer was lying as injured workers prior to Jan. 1/98 do not have to provide a functional abilities form. I would have to book an appointment with my doctor, which I did do and did get the form completed.   

Employer Letter to WSIB July 27, 1998:
On July 27, 1998, Pam Saddlemyre acting for the employer prepared and sent a letter to the WSIB. As previously mentioned, Pam Saddlemyre works for ACS Automation as confirmed in the fax header at the top of the page when it was faxed to the WSIB.  It should be noted that ACS Automation has changed their name to Pivotal Integrated HR Solutions. Pam Saddlemyre refers to speaking to a Ms. Palantzes. Where she was requesting access to my WSIB claim file specifically the medical section.

Ms. Saddlemyer goes on to state that as of Jan. 1/98, Action force has an Early Return to Safe Work – ERTSW program (that is a suitable return to suitable work). She goes on to explain the job was determined suitable for person with back injuries and was confirmed by a WSIB caseworker named Beni Collinio.

Doctor's Notes Aug. 12/98

Click to see enlarged copy of notes

My letter to WSIB

Sep. 10/98

Click to see enlarged copy of my letter

My Story
My Dealings with My Employer and the WSIB throughout 1998

I wanted to return to suitable work. However, I was very concerned with re-injuring myself again. I had suffered countless accidents and injuries in the past when I returned to work. Only two dates were actually documented July 9/97 and Aug. 20/97.

I discussed my reservations with working in any laborious jobs, until I can consult with my doctor. I also explained to her that I would be seeing the specialist on August 6, 1998 and after which I would see my doctor. I told her I would contact her after I have visited with my doctor and consulted with him. She was not happy with this outcome, all she wanted was me back to work as soon as possible, regardless if the work was suitable, or safe, or not. I explained to her I cannot make any agreements or say anything without first speaking to my doctor.  
      

My Story Throughout 1998:

  • I had as of September 1998, signed up for a fitness club. I explained that with the seriousness of my injury and never going to a gym before I had made use of a personal trainer to learn the appropriate exercises.  I expressed that this was recommended by Dr. Holtby and was a personal cost to me of $4,000.


  • I was attending chiropractic treatment for my work injury and was again paying for this out of my own pocket. From the initial assessment performed by the specialist, I reported to the WSIB that the specialist confirmed there was a considerable amount of soft tissue damage around the entire spine (upper mid and lower back regions) and especially around the lower back. The specialist also confirmed that it will be unlikely that I will be able to return to a regular work shift let alone work conditions of driving and unloading a trailer.


  • I was also looking for other types of suitable work, which are not harmful to a person with a back injury. I expressed concern that it was very hard to find nonphysical work that would fully restore my re-injury earnings.


  • I also informed the WSIB that I had looked into retraining programs. They were all more than six months in length. I mentioned a computer course I was initially looking into which claimed to provide guaranteed employment, with a course cost of $18,0000.  I suggested taking this or similar course as I again expressed concern of staying in driving would further aggravate my work injury.


  • I also expressed concern over the delays with the WSIB paying benefits, which put me into financial hardship. This also made it impossible for me to take and pay for any retraining program on my own.


  • I also expressed concern that my employer refused to provide me the insurance forms for provide insurance, when the WCB claimed my work injury was not work related.


  • I expressed concern about meeting the return to work schedule of six-hours per day when I found it extremely difficult doing four hours per day. I informed the WSIB I would be talking to my doctor and the chiropractor to confirm my concerns.


  • I also advised the WSIB I would attempt to keep them updated on my current status and I also raised issue that I was not being paid my full wages by my employer. 

“Third Workplace Accident” – Accident During Employer Modified Work Program – August 26, 1998:

There was one morning I went into work, but where the table was usually located was moved. It was at the bottom of the ramp which came out of a machine. This is where the lettuce was cutup by a big machine and a person would feed the machine with skids of lettuce.  I was sitting at the bottom of the ramp in front of the table where I was told to sit with the stool. After about working for an hour the guy moving the skid misjudged his turn and knock me to the floor. When I looked at him he said well that is what happened when you have a stool on the production floor that isn’t allowed.

I called Pam Saddlemyer and left her a message explaining that I suffered an accident at work when I was hit from behind with a skid. I told her in the voice mail message I was taking the next day off to go see my doctor. I then went home early as I was in a lot of pain.

Employer Claimed Modified Work – August 19, 1998:
On August 19th I went to Pride Pak. I met with the supervisor there. She walked me to my workstation and said in a very loud voice: “well you should be happy I hear you got a very large sum from workers comp”. I never said anything. I felt very uncomfortable. It was well apparent to me that was her goal. She then explained to me I would be cutting peppers and would have to lift the box to the table. When I told her, this was not the work I was told, that I would be doing and I was not supposed to be lifting. She said it is all the same work, whether putting lettuce leaves in plastic bags, or cutting peppers. She said the box is not that heavy, so she said she was sure I could manage.

Dr's Notes Jan. - Mar 11/98

Click to see enlarged copy of Doctor's notes

​​Reduction in Paid Benefits From 90% to 85%:
The paid benefits from the WSIB to be paid to injured workers who are unable to now work in a return to work program, with their employer is now reduce from 90% of a worker’s net earnings to 85% of their net earnings.

The government’s justification at the time was that it was to encourage injured workers to return to work.

This is unjustified when they have a forced return to work program. In reality, it is nothing short of punishing victims of an accident for simply being the victims of an accident! 

​​Type of Injury change:
It is at this point the WSIB changed my injury from what use to be on the forms sent to: me, my doctor, and the employer. This injury was stated as back, neck, and head. However, the word back was missing, but as I previously explained in Apr. /97, I was told by the WCB this was due to their computer system when it printed the forms the word back was left off. However, it was an accepted injury according to the WCB. Now according to this WSIB staff member’s memo it now states Upper back/shoulder, lower back. It is a wonder they can even get my name correct!

Obligations of Temp Agency:
I have researched the term “temp” regarding whether temp businesses have different re-employment obligations than typical employers. I could find no distinction, which the employer or the WSIB makes reference to in this memo. I did find that an employer has an obligation to re-employ an injured worker under the WSIA law up to two years after date of accident, one year after return to regular work, or worker reaches age 65. This is covered in the WSIA section 41 (1-7). However, the employer also must permanently accommodate an injured worker’s disabilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code. If you find differently please let me know!

Driver’s Licscence:
In the memo she states that I hold a ABZ license. She states with this I can drive everything, but tractor trailers and motorcycles. However, she is incorrect I can drive everything but Motor cycles. This is typical of the continual mistakes the WSIB makes when inputting information, then when an injured worker like myself attempts to have it corrected we are told to appeal. Appeal a mistake go figure!

Education:
She also states this as incorrect as I informed her I was at Grade 12, but did not graduate as I was short of credits. This shows to the common reader I was still in grade 11 which is incorrect.    

Medical Status:
She states that there was no medication, which is incorrect as I was being prescribed pain medication and confirmed this in my Doctor’s clinical notes. This is like the WSIB to make your injuries less severe than what they really are. She stated there was no treatment, but I had informed her I had treatment, which was stopped by the WSIB and was recommend by my doctor and the specialist but ignored by the WSIB.  She also stated no other health problems again this was not entirely true. I had informed her I was diagnosed as a child with colourblindness, but she stated that would not be an issue, she was more interested in physical health problems.  

Type of modified work:
The work the employer was referencing was completely unsuitable and unsafe for. You will learn this later as the employer does not mention the working environment, which is below 10 degrees and is extremely damp. This is not an environment conducive to a person with a severe injury attempting to recover. The other concern was that the employer informed the WSIB that the work was placing lettuce leaves in bags. The employer also made this claim to me as well. The employer goes so far as to make mention the modified work was previously inspected and confirmed as suitable by the WSIB. The problem is that this work is not what I performed. They stated I was putting lettuce leaves in bags, but I was doing a variety of work that job did not exist. Regardless of the excuses the employer makes or the WSIB what was stated is what should be was is done.

She also stated in the memo that additional information regarding other employment was to follow. The employer never sent this information to me or the WSIB, but claimed they had offered the work to me later.       

Return call to injured worker:
She states that I said my main area of concern was my lower back. This is correct my lower back was always in pain. However, other areas would only hurt when they were aggravated. This explains the inconsistency in reporting and how the WSIB changed the injury. They went with the least serious injury.

She states that medical monitoring will be done by the WSIB adjudicator. I find this interesting as that position is not medically capable of doing that. She also mentioned a referral for FEL and VR there was no referral mad4e at this time. It would not happen for another three years.


Visit to Orthopedic & Arthritic Hospital
for Regional Evaluation Report – August 6, 1998:

On August 6, 1998, I attended the Orthopedic & Arthritic Hospital located at 43 Wellesley Street in Toronto. There was an examination performed by a Physiotherapist and then by a Doctor. After the examine the Doctor provide me a hand-written summary report, he also sent one to the WSIB. The following day, Aug. 7/98, the Doctor and the physiotherapist prepared a complete written report. The following is what happened during the examination as well as a summary and my response to the reports.

The following is what transpired between myself, my employer, my doctor, and the WSIB during 1998.

This is everything that occurred before and my appeal was won in April 1998.

Hand written summary report Aug. 6/98

Click to see enlarged copy of report

Therefore, whenever you get restrictions/capabilities/limitations from a doctor

make sure they state the specific weights so there are NO misunderstanding!

You will see a good example in the functional abilities form that my doctor has provided to the WSIB it provides ranges of weight to be lift, pushed, pulled etc.my doctor also states the lifting weight at a considerably less amount of limited with is less than 5 kgs. 

Ms. Saddlemyer states the functional abilities form of August 12. This is incorrect as the examination was done on August 12/98, but the form was not completed until August 13/98 by my doctor as you can see on the bottom right side of the form. Furthermore, it was not sent to the employer by my doctor’s office until August 14/98. Also, I did not get a copy of the form until the following Monday August 17/98. Also, I did not speak to her until Monday morning when I called her. Therefore, I could not work on Monday until Monday, as that is when I was provided all the information. Obviously, Ms. Saddlemyre was documenting these lies to make it seem like I was ready for work on August 12 and I knew it, therefore I should not be paid benefits from the WSIB for Aug 12-19. 

Board memo 39

Click to see enlarged copy of Board memo

My Doctor’s Notes – March 11, 1998:
On March 11, 1998 my doctor noted in his notes that he stated that I continue with my WSIB appeal. He also stated he examined me and found that back and neck still painful, with tender lower back. He also mentioned that I was attending physiotherapy at Huron Physiotherapy. He also stated I was attending Peel Career Assessment. He also notes he advised me to return in four to six weeks.

My Doctor’s Notes – March 27, 1998:
On March 27, 1998 my doctor noted in his notes that he examined me and found that there was back and neck pain. The pain was noticed more in the upper back and low back regions. He also explained that the ROM (Range of motion) was unchanged – meaning has not improved in anyway. 

Both the employer and the WSIB by law MUST accommodate your disabilities, regardless if it is work related or not. It is you and secondarily your doctor that determines if you have a disability and the accommodations.

Be careful as some employers and the WSIB will request that you be examined by one of their doctors. According to a recent Ontario Appeal Court decision they are allowed to for determining accommodations and you cannot refuse. However, what you can do to protect yourself with their doctor is to bring a family member or friend and video and audio record the examination and consultation. If the doctor refuses then s/he is the one refusing, you are co-operating.         

All in all, Doctor Holtby was extremely effective in downplaying the seriousness of my injuries,

as well as having all but my lower back injury disregarded by the WSIB

Board memo 34

Click to see enlarged copy of Board memo

Forced Return to Work:
In this program employers would have to provide a modified suitable return to work program for injured workers. Injured workers had to co-operate or would be deemed by the WSIB as un-cooperative and receive no benefits or pay.

In other words, this was a "do as we say, or we will starve you and your family to death!" 

The problem with this formal legal perspective is:
It is not the injured worker, or their doctor that determines if the work is safe and suitable for the injured worker to do, it is the WSIB.  Ironically this violates both

the Ontario Human Rights Code, as well as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

WSIB Claim File Memo #44 – September 16, 1998:
The WSIB would place memos in the memo section of the file. This was to clarify decisions for future reference. In reviewing them it is well apparent they are very biased towards the injured worker.

This memo was prepared by the WSIB Nurse Case Manager, N. Deeno. She stated that she had called me and left a message for me to return her call.

REC report to WSIB Aug. 6/98

Click to see enlarged copy of report

My Doctor's Office Sends the Functional Abilities Form

to my Employer – August 14, 1998:
On August 14, 1998, my doctor’s office faxed the functional abilities form to my employer as per my employer’s request. As I previously mentioned, my doctor had completed the form late in the afternoon of the 13th and it was left until the next day to be sent out. Unfortunately, my doctor’s office had forgot to call me and let me a copy of the functional abilities form was ready for me to pick it up.  

New Zealand medical report on misinterpretation of DDD

Click to see enlarged copy of report

Employer Letter to Me July 31, 1998:

As previously mentioned Pam Saddlemyre works for ACS Automation as confirmed in the fax header at the top of the page when it was faxed to the WSIB.  It should be noted that ACS Automation has changed their name to Pivotal Integrated HR Solutions.The employer writes me a letter dated July 31, 1998 from a Pam Saddlemyer. In the letter she states that she recently learned my back injury was not fully recovered and I was looking for suitable work. She also states that telephone number she as was not in service. She also mentioned a modified work program Action force has had since Jan. 1/98. She states the work is at Pride Pak and states it meets all the restrictions for a back injury. She also states that there may be a full time dispatching job available. She requests for me to call her as soon as I receive the letter to arrange a start date.

Fight WCB

Visit to Family Doctor – August 12, 1998:

On August 12, 1998, I visited my family doctor to discuss the outcome of the Regional Evaluation report. He also wanted to examine me to determine of there was any change in my situation. I also discussed with him the safe suitable modified work as well as a system of graduated hours.

He examined to determine if there was any improvement in my condition. He noticed no improvement provided. I also provided him the functional abilities form that my employer gave me. He said to leave it with him, he wanted to think about it. My doctor seemed concerned about what the employer was asking for. He also wanted an opportunity to review Dr. Holtby’s report more fully. He said if I wanted a copy of the form that his office would contact me when it was ready for pickup.

It was clear my doctor was concerned with my medical condition and the regional evaluation report. He seemed very confused and puzzled as to the outcome of the report. He also appeared concerned as to me returning to work. 

 If you are ever referred to a WSIB or WCB doctor to be examined, I STRONGLY recommend that you bring a family member or friend. Have that family member or friend video the entire examination and consultation. If you do not, you will be like me fighting decades later for something that went terribly wrong. If the doctor refuses to examine you with the video, then inform them you have co-operated and it is them that is refusing.

It is your right!  

Employer letter July 31/98

Click to see enlarged copy of Employer letter

Board memos 36 & 37

Click to see enlarged copy of Board memos