In 1980 Moses went to work for the Canadian Manpower as a counselor helping miners to get travel grants and exploratory grants to go in different parts of the country to find work.
In 1982 Moses was invited to go on staff at the United Steel Workers Union, which Moses accepted and he was sent to Timmins and then transferred to Mississauga and then Toronto.
In 1985, he was transferred back to Timmins, where he started the campaign on lung cancer for gold miners in addition to all the tasks of being a union representative, since the widows had no WCB (now WSIB) entitlement as an occupational disease. Moses estimates interviewing over 1600 widows and family members in order to get sufficient evidence to try and get this type of disease recognized and compensable by the compensation board. All the hard work paid off as the claims for lung cancer in gold miners was approved. It is estimated that the total benefits paid to widows and family members was around 326 million dollars.
Unfortunately all this hard work did not come without a price. Moses suffered a “burn out” due to his heavy work load, including not only the fight for the miners' widows but also his other duties as a union representative, and he recalls that Sheran would often wake up in the morning and take papers away from Moses at the kitchen table, as he had been working till all hours of the night, continuously bringing work home and working on claim files, negotiations, and so on.
Moses then decided to uproot his family and move back to Atikokan, where he started working in mining, and he spent 10 years there as a truck driver, heavy equipment operator, blaster and finally electrical apprentice.
Moses Charles Sheppard was born on December 20th 1937 in Lark Harbor, Newfoundland, where he attended St. James Public School. He wrote the exam for the Council of Higher Education to become a teacher, which he achieved, and taught for one year as a probationary teacher from 1954 to 1955.
Although he enjoyed teaching, Moses wanted more of a challenge and with his parents’
permission (since he was under age),he joined the Navy.
In 1959, he was transferred to Ottawa for training in Electronic Warfare and once done, was transferred to HMCS Stadacona in Halifax and then transferred again to sea on the HMCS Sioux.
In 1959 Moses married the love of his life, Sheran McEvoy. In that same year, he went on a training exercise in the North Sea on the HMCS Sioux.
While coming home in December of that year, all five ships, including the Bonaventure, were victims of a brutal storm titled “Bonnie’s Storm".
With waves estimated to be as high as 65 feet and winds exceeding 100 mile per hour and a level 9 force. Damage to the ships was extensive, estimated at 50 Million dollars.
In 1962, Moses was temporarily transferred to France during the Cuban Missile Crisis and it was during this transfer that his oldest son was born. Regrettably, Moses stated that he was not home with his wife when his two oldest kids were born.
He arrived home in December of 1962 and stayed in Trenton until 1966. That summer, Moses ended up in the National Defense Medical Centre in Kingston, where he was diagnosed with a chronic hearing problem. In June of 1966, he was medically released from the Air Force.
Moses was only a few weeks away from a 5 year term with the RCAF, and amalgamating this time with the Navy would have given him a full 10 years worth of service.
In Kingston, Moses was approached by a high ranking officer who asked Moses if he knew they were going to discharge him. Moses replied that he was aware of that. The high ranking officer asked him how his back was and Moses replied that there was nothing wrong with his back. The officer advised him that he would not be a bit surprised if Moses had a bad back and by the time they had that checked out, Moses would undoubtedly have his 10 years of service. If, after 10 years of service and you are medically released, you would be entitled to a disability pension.
Moses was stationed at HMCS Cornwallis for his basic training and in early 1956 was transferred to H.M.C.S. Gloucester where he received training as radio operator special services. He finished his training in 1957 and was then transferred to the Navel Radio Station in Churchill, MB.
This was an operational base and his duties were to monitor the Russians' radio and their behavior. Here, he was subject to the Official Secrets Act, which later in his life would come back and give him some problems.
Our First Logo
In September of 1960 Moses was discharged from the Navy and returned to Newfoundland, where he went back to teaching until June of 1961, when he decided to join the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In 1961 Moses enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. When asked why he decided to go to the RCAF versus the Navy, he stated that "with the RCAF you were permanently stationed in one place while in the navy you were at sea". This was a major factor in his decision to join the RCAF since he and Sheran now had a growing family.
Moses was often heard telling an injured worker that “if something is bothering you at home, don’t kick the cat; call us and we will be there for you”. In fact, one worker did call in the middle of the night, hinting of suicide and Moses without any hesitation, went to the worker’s home and stayed there till all was safe.
In 2007 Moses suffered a great loss with the passing of his lovely wife Sheran. But Moses still came to volunteer at the injured workers’ office and also at the Friends of the Library.
When asked to estimate the amount of injured workers he helped only in the office of the injured workers, Moses estimated over 300 injured workers, with an estimated 10 million dollars in claims that he appealed and won, and this work was all done at no charge, with no retainer and no fee whatsoever to the injured workers.
In 2007-2008, the Liberal Government gave authority to the Law Society of Upper Canada the empowerment to add bylaws to their rules and regulations. One of them was; that in order to help workers with their WSIB claims, you now had to be a licensed paralegal or lawyer to appear in front of the WSIB Appeals and the WSIAT Tribunal. This became known as Bill 14, Bylaw 4.
Both Moses and I received threatening letters from the Law Society, telling us to “cease and desist” immediately from representing injured workers or we would be subject to a fine of $25,000.00 and $50,000.00 for each subsequent file.
We wrote numerous letters to the Premier and down, including the Attorney General’s Office, Minister of Labour, Civil Liberties Union, and so on, stating that we had a right to help those in need, and injured workers could not afford to pay legal fees, but our concerns did not sway their decision.
I then resigned from the Board of Directors of the TBDIWSG but Moses kept on volunteering his time and helping those that needed his help. He was often quoted as saying “injured workers have the right to have their day in court” and he would make sure that he did whatever was possible to see that the workers were heard.
Moses suffers from Type 2 Diabetes, and slowly, as the years went by, his sight diminished more and more. Presently, he has lost sight in one eye and has minute vision in the other eye, making it impossible to watch television or read newspapers or books, which has been a great disappointment for Moses.
Moses is an avid book collector (some may even say an obsession) and his collection was in excess of 25,000 books. That number is not a typed error, 25000 books, and he admittedly reported to having read about 99% of them, none of which are non-fiction but rather history and poetry.
In my opinion, this man is truly the ultimate humanitarian that I have ever met, always caring and helping people in need. Moses is not afraid to speak his mind and is truly a great friend.
Sheran & Moses
Moses was transferred back to Thunder Bay in 2002 and he took his retirement later in that same year. Although he was retired, Moses was extremely active with the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group (TBDIWSG), again helping injured workers with their claims, letter writing, and peer support, and again all this work came at no cost to those whom he helped.
The fall of 2003 is when I, (Robert Larocque) met Moses after joining the TBDIWSG and becoming a volunteer with them. I had the pleasure of working beside Moses, which was not only a great opportunity but I soon found out that this man had an incredible wealth of knowledge and was very dedicated and caring.
Since the early 1900's
Canaries were used in coal mines to alert miners that toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, methane or carbon dioxide would kill the miners if they did not leave immediately.
At the very first sign of distress from the birds, along with the lack of it chirping, was a sign that the air had deadly gases which meant the safety of the miners was at risk.
Moses did his basic training in St. Jean, Quebec, and was then transferred to Station Trenton and then to Station Clinton for further radio training, and then transferred back to Station Trenton.
In 1960 he was back at sea, this time aboard HMCS Iroquois after the re-fit and was put on staff of the First Canadian Squadron. During the year Moses and Sheran were blessed with the birth of their first child.
The Yellow Canary
a miner's best friend
He became the president of the local union and was there when the Caland Ore Mine shut down. He also was elected to council in 1978 and served two terms. Moses sat on several committees having to do with labour adjustment.
As we know the integrity and character of this man, it is very easy to see what his response was to this officer. Moses asked why he should lie to get a pension and stated that he would not do it, and he didn’t.
After he was medically released, Moses put in a claim for hearing loss, and at the first appeal hearing that he attended, he could not tell them what he did since he was bound by the Official Secrets Act, which he swore to back in 1957.
When asked if this was still in force, Moses replied “absolutely”. Moses had to get a special dispensation to tell this now special appeals board what he did to have a hearing loss. Moses recalls the First Chair was a Major General (retired) and he looked down at Moses and said “you are very young to be looking for a pension", and Moses replied, "With all due respect to you sir, I have been in many Canadian Cemeteries in Western Europe, and there is one thing that jumps out at you, there is one thing that grabs you and won’t let you go, is that they all were young”.
They finally agreed that 50% of his hearing loss was work-related and the other 50% was familia-related but then they decided that it would be totally due to the work and Moses now gets a pension for his loss of hearing. Albeit that he wears hearing aids; he can only hear out of the right side with the assistance of the hearing aids.
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