English a challenge for some

I’m been working with an immigrant family, a father, a mother and two daughters, for whom English is not their first language.

Dear Editor:

I’m been working with an immigrant family, a father, a mother and two daughters, for whom English is not their first language. I would say the whole family is struggling with basic English, except interestingly, a pre-kindergarten daughter who has soaked up English this last year.

About two years ago the father of the family was injured in a work-related accident, and except for a few weeks of a trial work placement, has not worked for two years. Though documents were filed to receive workers’ compensation for this accident, financial compensation, as a result of this accident, has recently stopped. Being an immigrant to this country, understanding the compensation process, its expectations, negotiating the paperwork and the legal and formal language of required documents, while struggling with English, is a daunting task.

Incredibly, the family has kept its cool and fortunately a process is underway to review this worker’s situation. And yet I wonder how many temporary and immigrant workers struggle in similar situations. Even if English is your first language, there are times when significant issues do arise for workers after a work-related injury. I understand the Workers’ Compensation Board was originally created to bypass the adversarial court system that would involve both time and money. In this instance, with an excellent and empathetic translator, free legal consultation from two legal clinics, supportive intervention from an MLA and a responsive WCB case manager, things seems to be on track for a speedy resolution.

We owe a lot to Canadian, immigrant and temporary workers who are often out of sight and never in the spotlight and yet are the backbone of this province’s burgeoning economy. They are the hidden heroes who help us prosper.

George Jason

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