The WSIB recently introduced a Work-Related Chronic Mental Stress Policy to support Bill 127 which the Ontario government passed on May 17, 2017. With 39% of Ontario workers indicating that they would not tell their managers if they had a mental health problem (Source: CAMH), this policy is a positive step towards ending the stigma surrounding mental health diagnoses, particularly in the workplace.
About Bill 127
Also referred to as the Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act, “Bill 127 includes amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act…to allow entitlement to chronic mental stress for workplace injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2018”. The amendment was a result of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeal Tribunal finding that part of the WSIB’s Operational Policy “violated the equality guarantee in section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and were unconstitutional”.
Source: Hicks Morley
The drafted policy would provide entitlement for traumatic mental stress (ex. someone witnessing a horrific workplace accident), and chronic mental stress (ex. someone being bullied by co-workers). Stress caused by changes to the worker’s employment (ex. change in job duties) would not be covered under the new policy.
According to the WSIB, “work-related chronic mental stress is caused by a substantial work-related stressor or series of stressors”. When evaluating the seriousness of a stressor, its intensity and duration are often examined. Situations such as harassment and bullying in the workplace are definitely seen as stressors that would contribute to chronic mental stress.
In order for a traumatic mental stress or chronic mental stress claim to be ruled on, there has to be a diagnosis in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Examples may include:
Source: WSIB Ontario
Your Input and Feedback
The WSIB has an open consultation on the policy until July 7, 2017. If you’d like to provide your feedback on the proposed policy, you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions regarding WSIB claims management, policy development, or other mental health or other workplace issues/topics, our team at Clear Path is happy to provide you with assistance. You can contact Clear Path President, Anna Aceto-Guerin at email@example.com or by phone at 519-624-0800.
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