Ontario OHS Legislation Update – Chronic Workplace Mental Stress Injuries
On January 1, 2018, new Ontario OHS legislation extended employee workplace injury benefit coverage. The new legislation, Bill 127, increases employees’ Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) benefit coverage to include claims for chronic workplace mental stress injuries.
“Workplace stress” is the harmful physical and emotional response that an employee experiences at work when a job has a lot of demands and the worker does not have much control over the situation. Excessive exposure to workplace stress can lead to chronic mental stress injuries.
To submit a chronic workplace mental stress injury claim, the worker must show that:
- the stressor(s) were work related,
- the work related stressor(s) were substantial,
- the work related stressor(s) were the predominant cause of the mental stress injury, and
- the mental stress injury has been appropriately diagnosed.
Workers will not get benefits for chronic stress caused by decisions or actions by the employer related to the worker’s employment, including a decision to change the work being performed or the working conditions, to discipline the worker or to terminate the employment.
Under the Bill 177 transitional rules, employers may also be faced with claims for mental stress injuries experienced between April 29, 2014 and January 1, 2018.
Employers with stressful workplaces should review their workplace’s stressors and take steps to reduce and assist workers to manage workplace stress. Similar to other workplace hazards, employers must eliminate or control excessive workplace stressors to prevent worker injury.
Review links below, to learn more information about workplace stressors and chronic workplace mental stress.