Dr Barnetson Summary

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Audience:

As Dr. Barnetson is a current professor for Athabasca University, the obvious intended audience is students who are taking the relevant course. The size, layout and print style are not specifically geared towards academics, however, and the general feel of this book is more like a well-written narrative, with no charts or graphs and additional blurbs of information scattered throughout. The book would be useful tool for student studying this subject, but also to administrators of workers’ compensation systems, as well as policy writers and key decisions makers within for-profit companies.

Thesis:

Dr. Barnetson concludes throughout the book that the current workers’ compensation system in Canada falls very short of its goal and intentions. Although it is designed to assist employees who have sustained a workplace injury, the author continuously illustrates how injured workers are worse off after coming through the machine of workers’ compensation. Barnetson concludes that the “moral commitment to worker welfare is clearly absent,” as employers design jobs to maximize profit regardless of the harm to workers. Weak legal regulations also indicate “intentionally prioritizing profitability over safety.”

The author
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Barnetson presents a unique and fresh voice into the space of workplace injury compensation. Instead of beginning with a long list of complaints and critiques, he first provides a historical context on the development of injury compensation and weaves the political drivers into what Canada currently has in place. This allows the reader to come to a conclusion without being coerced or swayed by the author’s own opinion or experience. He then applies relevant, contemporary data and statistics, mixed in with interview snippets and real headlines of today to further demonstrate his point of the shortcomings of the workers’ compensation system. Where necessary, he does use explanation marks and ironic conclusions to drive his arguments
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