Law changes in how chronic mental stress is recognized in workplace

January 9, 2018
Article Source
Canadian Lawyer Magazine

Lawyers and human resource departments should be aware of changes to Ontario law that expands coverage of workplace-related injuries related to chronic mental stress.

Sean Bawden, a partner with Kelly Santini LLP, says amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act will impact some Ontario employers and employees.

As of Jan. 1, 2018, some employees are eligible to make claims related to "chronic or traumatic mental stress arising out of and in the course of the worker's employment."

"This is a pretty massive shift to the way that the WSIB has operated," Bawden says.

"It's now going to allow claims for, essentially, workplace harassment. . .how that's going to play out is really yet to be seen."

The changes stem from a 2014 decision by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal that found that the denial of WSIB benefits for claimants seeking chronic mental stress was unconstitutional, says Bawden.

He says that if a person has a claim for chronic mental stress that arises after the date of that decision, April 29, 2014, and has not been adjudicated, then it will be considered in accordance with a new allowance for claims for chronic mental stress.

The change was contained within Bills 127 and 177, which introduced some amendments to the Act. 

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