November 15, 2017
Policy changes will come into effect Jan. 1, 2018 in regards to chronic mental stress and traumatic mental stress benefits.

After completing the consultation phase, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) have finalized and approved the new Chronic Mental Stress policy (Policy 15-03-14) and made changes to the Traumatic Mental Stress policy (Policy 15-03-02) to provide clarity between the two types of work-related mental stress.

Under the new policies, WSIB gives some examples of what would and would not likely qualify workers for benefits under the proposed legislation and policy. For example, a construction worker who develops post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing a horrific workplace accident would likely be entitled to benefits under the Traumatic Mental Stress policy. Under the new Chronic Mental Stress policy, instances of harassment, both verbal and physical that result in a depression disorder would also likely result in entitlement to benefits.

Examples of situations where mental stress benefits are not likely to be awarded include shift changes, general labourers who are suspended as a result of repeatedly ignoring company safety rules, and a contract worker not being offered permanent employment after several probationary contract extensions.

The changes come as a result of the Ontario government’s 2017 budget legislation, Bill 127, that among many things, also called for changes to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 to provide benefits under the insurance plan for chronic or mental stress arising from a worker’s employment.