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QUESTION: I worked as half of a 2 person driving team with my husband driving a transport truck.  One day I was in the back of the cab putting away supplies when a small fridge fell off a shelf above me and landed on my head.  I have been on WSIB now for some time and have been told that my head, neck and back injuries will take a long time to heal.  My doctors have told me that chronic pain has set in and that it is very likely that I will  never return to driving truck.  I have no idea what to do next.  I cannot imagine finding work that I can do that would pay me anywhere near the same money I made working with my husband.  Do you have any ideas?

ANSWER: In a sense, you are in the same situation many of my clients find themselves in.  Although they have no physical limitations, the very specialized skills they developed at their old job are not marketable.  They have been terminated and have to start again.  There are more possibilities out there than you might think.  You have an advantage over most of my clients, however.  You are receiving WSIB benefits.  If it is determined that you can never return to your old job and that there is no modified work that your employer can offer, WSIB may put you on the Labour Market Re-entry Plan.  The goal is provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to re-enter the job market.
WSIB will pay a private company to have you tested to determine your aptitude and skills level.  In consultation with you, it will then develop a plan for re-training.  That re-training may include skills training, formal training, job search training, academic upgrading or learning English as a second language. 
Once it is determined what kind of re-training would be best suited for you, WSIB will fund the program which will be provided through a private organization or community college.  While you are taking this re-training you will continue to receive your WSIB benefits.  I know that you would not have chosen to suffer the destruction of a flying fridge to obtain this opportunity, but since the fridge has already landed, you might as well look on the bright side and accept this as a great opportunity.
As published in the Hamilton Spectator, March 18, 2002
Ed Canning
Ed Canning
P: 905.572.5809