“Legacy Costs: Burden or Benefit?” is an Artist in the Community/Workplace project funded by the Ontario Arts Council and organized by the Injured Workers Coalition, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Workers Health & Safety Center and Windsor photographer Sandi Wheaton.
Within this past decade, industry and government have ramped up a campaign promoting the catchphrase “Legacy Costs”. This figure of speech suggests that workers’ pensions and other hard-earned benefits are a burden on the profit viability of the employer. What about the other side of this carefully coined slogan? What about the exorbitant costs downloaded to communities resulting from questionable corporate and governmental policies? We think society should examine the real “Legacy Costs” that burden our communities, leaving them riddled with debt and despair for generations to come. This project challenges the prevailing notion of “legacy costs” by shifting from the business point of view, to one of the community.
“Legacy Costs: Burden or Benefit?” seeks to give voice to community members saddled with the legacy left behind by irresponsible workplaces that are allowed to protect unfettered profits. We will be collecting stories representing “Legacy Costs” in southwestern Ontario communities (Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham, Tilbury, Wallaceburg, etc.) using video, photography, and audio interviews. Those documented human stories will later be incorporated into a touring multimedia art exhibition to share with the public, helping to raise awareness and speak truth to power.
Our project is currently in the research and development stage, and we want to hear from you. If you live in southwestern Ontario and have been affected by injury or death in the workplace, health and safety issues in your work environment, industrial pollution, plant closures, employment legislation, pension loss, regulatory changes, etc. and want to tell your story, let us know. Call Rolly Marentette from the Injured Workers Coalition at (519) 969-7237, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.