The Paul Atkinson-Colin Grieve Legal Defense Fund
$18,205 raised
65 contributors
30 Days running
Please help to raise funds to assist Paul Atkinson and Colin Grieve. For two years running, they've been fighting a baseless and malicious lawsuit, designed to ruin their reputations. All funds will be used to pay their legal expenses.

We are friends of Colin Grieve and Paul Atkinson. We are saddened by this baseless and frivolous legal suit they've had to endure for over two years running. We are eager to help with their legal defense, and we are very optimistic about the outcome. Please help us to raise funds to assist with their mounting legal expenses.

Please take a moment to read a brief summary of these two amazing men. And just as impressive are the comments made by donators. These can be found after this opening summary, you will see 'Activity highlights'  click on the 'See all' located to the right. If you can financially manage a small donation it would be truly appreciated. A donation can be made right from this page. Colin and Paul will receive 95% of the funds, and this wonderful website will receive 5%. If you do leave a donation you will find a box where you can leave a comment. Let's come together and support these two great men who have made a huge difference in advancing Occupational Disease recognition in Firefighters. Whether you can donate or not, please be so kind as to pass this page along, via email or social media, to as many people as you can. There are links right on this page to help you pass it along.  We thank you and are grateful for your support.

Colin and Paul are two firefighter advocates who were instrumental in changing the landscape of WSIB benefits for all firefighters in Ontario - active, retired, or deceased. Their names are synonymous for helping firefighters with their occupational disease battles at the WSIB.

The two firefighters have devoted over 20 years advocating for WSIB benefits for occupational disease. Starting from the era of no entitlements, the two worked separately in their respective cities to gain benefits on a case-by-case basis. In 2000, Colin and Paul came together and took an independent initiative to advance Occupational Cancers for firefighters. Using the network they built, they were able to build relationships with WSIB Senior Management to create a prevention mandate. This mandate involved creating a poster project and safety video called Mask Up. This initiative was utilized nationwide and continues to be the primary prevention initiative.

After being contacted by CBC TV to do an interview on Occupational Cancers, they began receiving calls directly from families across Ontario asking for their expertise. By advancing these claims through the appeals and tribunal process they were able to expand the list of WSIB cancers recognized by the board. This led to the accumulation of evidence that allowed the firefighters to achieve presumptive legislation in 2007. It was their persistence and hard work that was key in forming this legislation, as well as the second round of coverage that occurred in 2014. 

Having devoted thousands of hours, and serving on many committees and boards, their hard work has directly benefited hundreds of active and retired firefighters, their spouses, and their children. 

The fruit of their labour continues to help to this very day. Please support Colin and Paul, as they themselves have supported so many in need over the years.

Most of you visiting this page are supporters of Paul and Colin. You are familiar with their sacrifice, devotion, and dedication.  You've witnessed the two of them pouring their souls into this work over the years. Work that has left an indelible scar on their hearts forever. More than likely, an explanation regarding this lawsuit and charges will not be required by you before donating. However, for those of you unfamiliar with Colin and Paul, or this case, I invite you to do some research and seek the truth for yourselves. Via the Freedom of Information Act, the court records are available to you. You can visit the Courthouse at 360 University Avenue in Toronto (10th floor) and obtain a copy of The Statement of Claim, Statement of Defence, and all other subsequently filed records. After you read these records there be no doubt of their innocence, and the plot to discredit and embarrass them will become perfectly clear.

For those of you wanting to know more about this case but are unable to visit the courthouse, please continue to read below.  You'll find some excerpts of the court documents, and rebuttals to certain claims.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

-The Ontario Provincial Firefighters Association (OPFFA) accuses Atkinson and Grieve of misappropriating over 3 million dollars, of what the OPFFA states are theirs. 

Keep in mind that these 3 million dollars would have only come from "obligatory donations" (as the OPFFA oxymoronically termed it) from successful claimants. What the OPPFA fails to state is that only successful claimants that did not pay union dues were required to pay an obligatory donation. That is to say, Union paying members did not have to pay an obligatory donation when they successfully won their claim. Atkinson and Grieve represented hundreds of claimants over the years, which led to over a hundred million dollars in total WSIB payouts. But many of these claimants were Active Living Members, and Deceased Active Members and their Estates. These two groups of claimants were Union dues-paying members, and were not required to make donations. Atkinson and Grieve also represented Living Retired Firefighters, and Deceased Retired Firefighters and their Estates. These individuals were not dues-paying members and were not a part of the OPFFA; therefore, they were encouraged to make a voluntary donation at their discretion.

Of the 100 million dollars in payout benefits from the WSIB, an injured Firefighter (Active, Retired,or Deceased and Estate) would receive:

1) A lump sum death benefit

2) Non-Economic Loss Award

3) All expenses related to the claim for the injured/sick Firefighter  (e.g., travel, special meals, medical equipment, medications.)

4) The total cost of all funeral-related expenses

5) A monthly spousal pension of $2,000 - $4,000.  This would be paid to the widow for the rest of her life indexed by the CPI and calculated based on her age at the time of her husband’s passing (retroactive to the date of death of her spouse).  Approximately 70% of the hundred million dollars in WSIB benefits is paid directly to the Widow's monthly spousal pension, and the OPFFA has no claim to this money.

 

-The OPFFA claims to have paid Atkinson and Grieve an annual salary of $135,000.

The actual OPFFA occupational disease committee salary was $6,000 per year, plus a daily per diem of $50 when working on behalf of firefighters in Ontario. The same as any other OPFFA committee member that represented only active Firefighters.  Grieve and Atkinson went above and beyond by also advocating for sick and deceased Firefighters who were not dues-paying members.  This so-called total annual cost of $135,000 includes expenses, the $50 per diem, plus the daily substitution rate paid to other Firefighters working in place of Atkinson and Grieve. While Atkinson and Grieve were absent, advocating for the sick and injured, other Firefighters worked in their respective fire halls (in Toronto and Hamilton). The Firefighters that filled in while Atkinson and Grieve were away received between $400 and $700 per 24-hour shift from the OPFFA, or their own Local Association. The substitution rate contributed to 70% of the annual costs.  This is what accounts for the so-called $135,000.00 annual cost.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

-The OPFFA claims that Atkinson and Grieve misused funds to rent a luxury car for a road trip.

The car in question was a 2011 Chrysler 300, which was rented at a rate of $59.00/day, mileage included. 

Statistics can be used to prove or disprove anything. There are many ways to use statistics and figures to say what you want. But in a court of law proof is needed, not statistics and bogus figures. Fact, Atkinson and Grieve did not misuse funds to rent a luxury car. Fact- Guess who drives a 2017 BMW? I make no claims as to how this person affords such a vehicle.

 

The Defendants, Atkinson and Grieve state:

The executive of the OPFFA received the benefits of these funds which they oxymoronically refer to in the statement of claims as "obligatory donations", for which they did not properly account.                               

The Defendants, Atkinson and Grieve state:

Families and Firefighters assisted by these defendants were fully aware of and agreed to compensate them for their efforts, albeit at a fraction of the cost that a paralegal or a lawyer would have charged.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

The Defendants, Atkinson and Grieve state:

Atkinson and Grieve met each other in or around 1999, in their capacities as committee members. However, the allegation that they gained experience in advancing retiree/spousal claims by virtue of their roles as WSIB committee members is untrue. Atkinson and Grieve gained such experience by their own efforts, on their own time, and in spite of a lack of institutional support from the OPPFA.

 

The Defendants, Atkinson and Grieve state:

The OPFFA redrafted the Hamilton Letter of Agreement, so as to make a percentage of the amounts recovered from the WSIB payable to the OPFFA, instead of the individual Local Associations. The initial contribution was set by the OPFFA at 1.5% of any lump sum recovered from the WSIB, which the OPFFA later unilaterally increased to 3% in 2005, and then to 5% in 2007.

 

The Defendants, Atkinson and Grieve state:

The OPFFA is not, and was not, at any time material to this action, an agent of Retiree or Spousal WSIB claimants.  In fact, the OPFFA does not even allow these categories of claimants into membership. Moreover, in acting on the retiree spousal claims, these defendants were not agents of the OPFFA.

 

Thank you very much!

 

 

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