WSIB’s new policy on chronic mental stress is too restrictive

The WSIB’s new chronic mental health policy, as it stands, will come into effect on January 1, 2018. It will require workers to prove their workplace was the primary cause of their mental stress injury, which is a different standard than what other injured workers must meet.

This new policy discriminates against workers with chronic mental stress injuries and is only considered substantial when the work related stressor can be proven to be excessive in intensity or duration, in comparison to the normal pressures experienced by other workers. Imposing a more restrictive standard for mental injury entitlement sends a message to workers that their conditions are not taken seriously and that it is “all in their head.”

The other glaring issue with the new legislation is that it is not retroactive, meaning it will only allow for benefit entitlements for injuries after January 1, 2018. With no transitional provision, there will be countless workers who are caught in limbo with no access to loss of earnings compensation.

OSSTF/FEESO has taken a proactive approach, sending a letter to the Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn, asking him to call on the WSIB to uphold the approach to compensate workers for chronic mental stress when the workplace is a significant contributing factor. Chronic work-related mental stress is real and is on the rise. The WSIB is failing in its responsibility to Ontario workers who deserve to know that they are being protected when injured at work. This policy denies workers their Charter right to equal protections and benefits without being discriminated against and needs to be changed before coming into effect on January 1.

About Scott West
Scott West is a teacher from District 16, York Region and is a member of the Health and Safety/Workplace Safety Insurance Act Committee.

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