Ramsay can’t believe CFLPA must negotiate adequate rehabilitation

CFLPA unhappy with rehabilitation issue

TORONTO — Brian Ramsay finds it hard to believe the CFL Players’ Association must negotiate adequate rehabilitation for its membership.

The union has launched a campaign to outline what it feels is inadequate therapy for players suffering on-field injuries. Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and CFLPA, players are covered for 12 months from the date of injury.

The union says that leaves many without long-term assistance for more serious or chronic conditions suffered on the field. Ramsay, the CFLPA’s executive director, added coaches, management and even CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge are all covered under workers’ compensation for any workplace injuries they might sustain.

“I can’t wrap my head around the thought of having to bargain the right to be rehabilitated for injuries sustained in the workplace,” Ramsay said. “I struggle with the fact that this has to be a negotiation.”

Changes can be made to a CBA even after it’s been ratified. Last year, the CFL and CFLPA amended the agreement they reached in 2014 to institute a stronger, more emphatic drug policy.

“The CBA is a live document,” Ramsay said. “But they’ve told us they’re bound by the collective bargaining agreement.

“Rehabilitation and player safety aren’t bargaining chips. But their answer to any question we’ve asked has been, ‘No.’ ”

Ramsay said the last time the two sides met was last month in Regina.

Kevin McDonald, the CFL’s vice-president of football operations, player safety, said the league remains committed to working with the union.

“Player health and safety is a priority for our league,” he said. “We are working with the CFLPA, and we will continue to work with the CFLPA, on player health and safety matters.”

It used to be players could take legal action. But that changed in March 2016 when Arland Bruce III lost the first round of his concussion lawsuit against the CFL in a B.C. court.

The judge ruled the complaint should be heard under the league’s collective bargaining agreement and not as a civil action against the CFL. Bruce’s lawyer, Robyn Wishart, has said she plans to appeal the verdict.

Ramsay said the CFLPA has applied to the Alberta government for worker’s compensation but the CFL has sent a submission against that application. Ramsay added the union has applications ready to go to all other provinces but the ruling in Bruce’s case means the 12-month window that currently exists in the CBA remains the benchmark.

And with the deal set to expire the day before the start of training camp in 2019, it could be for some time. That would be bad news for former CFL player Jonathan Hefney, who suffered a career-ending neck injury in October 2015.

“He’s still in a position where he requires additional surgeries . . . but has zero coverage, he’s on his own,” Ramsay said. “He’s trying to get the rehab and trying to get a coaching job but can’t because he still can’t lift his right arm.”

Ramsay said Hefney isn’t alone.

“In Ottawa last year, we had a guy who wasn’t properly rehabilitated from an injury he sustained in a game and he couldn’t pass the physical to be a fireman,” Ramsay said. “He fell out of the 12-month window and the obligation is now over . . . this is a guy who has a young family and chose to live in the city he played in and now he can’t transition to a career after football as a fireman.

“There are things to bargain, I get and understand that, I just don’t think this is something that should be. There’s a solution here and it’s not a hard solution.”

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Check out what’s happening in Greater Victoria this weekend

From swimming championships to Oak Bay Light Up, there’s plenty to keep you busy this weekend

VicPD chief rescues lost $10 bill in downtown Victoria

The note was promptly returned to its owner unharmed

Port Renfrew gets $89,000 grant to build staircase, trail

Rural Dividend grant awarded by province

Island champion volleyball team heads for provincials Wednesday

What Oak Bay High lacks in volleyball experience the make up for in athleticism and competitiveness

Duncan man faces numerous charges following Sooke Rd. crash

RCMP found alcohol and a loaded hand gun at the scene

Victoria Royals giving a boost to fund inspired by Tragically Hip singer

Downie Wenjack Fund recipient of funds raised starting at tonight’s WHL game vs. Seattle

BC Ferries vehicle traffic last summer was best ever

CEO says positive results reduce future pressure on fares

Dead rats on doorstep greets Summerland mayor

Two rodents have been delivered to Peter Waterman’s doorstep

False killer whale ‘Chester’ dies at Vancouver Aquarium

He was found stranded near Tofino in July 2014 and only had a 10 per cent chance of making it at the time

Panda picks Argonauts for the win

Giant panda at the Toronto Zoo picks Argos to win Grey Cup on Sunday

Black Friday fervour wanes as some consumers, retailers shun practice

Some businesses are choosing to opt out, while some shoppers are turning to buying online

Stay safe on B.C. roads this holiday season

RCMP warn drivers to plan a safe ride home or suffer the consequences this holiday season

Trudeau apologizes to excluded residential school students

PM makes statement to former students in Nfld who were left out of previous compensation, apology

Most Read