The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will allow claims for benefits from those individuals suffering from chronic mental stress in the course of their employment. In January 2018, Bill 127, the Stronger Healthier Ontario Act will be in effect. With this new policy, any worker who can demonstrate he or she has a “diagnosed mental stress injury” resulting from a “substantial work-related stressor,” including bullying and harassment is entitled to benefits. This will allow compensation for mental injuries even for chronic stress building up over time. It requires the claimant to show that the work-related stressor was the predominant cause of the mental injury. The worker must prove that he or she has a properly diagnosed mental stress injury listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (i.e. by a psychiatrist), and there is a strict criteria for what jobs will qualify. If a claim is made, there may be an assessment done in the workplace for the risk of harassment or bullying, as many of these issues can often be unseen by management. There will also be a provision for any individuals with claims pre-dating the January 1, 2018 in-force date. It is best if employers take preventative measures to make sure these types of claims do not arise. It is important to seek guidance from a trusted lawyer and ensure that your workplace anti-violence and anti-harassment policies are up to date.
Reference: Law Times October 2017