Friday, April 27, 2018

Compensation for Work-Related Mental Stress

On April 29, 2014, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) released its decision on ONA’s Charter Challenge declaring that the exclusion of workers with chronic mental stress from eligibility for compensation under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) was discriminatory and contrary to the Constitution. Two other non-ONA cases followed with similar success and these wins, along with lobbying and pressure by unions and other injured workers’ organizations, led to the repealing of the discriminatory provisions in May 2017.

Amendments under Bill 127, the Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017 came into effect on January 1, 2018 that now allows workers with work-related mental stress to be eligible for benefits under the workers’ compensation plan.
The amendments also allow workers whose mental stress occurred between April 29, 2014 and December 31, 2017 and who did not previously file a claim, to file a claim for compensation with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) before July 1, 2018.

Furthermore, workers whose claims were previously denied and workers whose claims are pending may be eligible to have their claims considered or re-considered under the following transitional rules:

1. Claims that were denied by the WSIB or by the WSIAT before January 1, 2018 cannot be refiled. However, if a worker has a timely claim for mental stress pending before the WSIB on January 1, 2018, the decision will be made based on the new provisions regardless of the date on which the mental stress occurred. “Pending” means the WSIB has not made a decision or final decision on the claim by January 1, 2018.

2. If a worker has a timely claim for mental stress that is pending before the WSIAT on January 1, 2018 (a pending appeal), the WSIAT will send the claim back to the Board to decide entitlement under the new provisions regardless of the date on which the mental stress occurred.

3. If on or after January 1, 2018 a worker files a timely Notice of Appeal to the WSIAT of a final decision of the WSIB made before January 1, 2018, the WSIAT will refer the claim back to the WSIB to be decided under the new provisions regardless of the date on which the worker’s mental stress occurred.

Next Steps

1. ONA members who have suffered work-related mental stress for which they lost time and/or sought medical treatment and have not previously filed a WSIB Claim, should contact the WSIB immediately to find out if they are eligible for compensation under the new provisions. WSIB: 416-344-1000 or 1-800-387-0750.

2. ONA members who have an existing claim or appeal at the WSIB or WSIAT for work-related mental stress should contact the WSIB to find out how the new provisions affect their claim. They can also contact the ONA WSIB Appeals Intake Line: 416-964-8833 or 1-800-387-5580, and ask for WSIB Intake or enter extension 7721. ONA members can leave their name, phone number and a time they can be reached with a brief message and a WSIB Appeals Labour Relations Officer will return their call within 48 hours. They can also email the ONA WSIB Appeals Team via:

Please note the deadline for WSIB and WSIAT Claims or Reconsiderations under the new provisions in any of the above circumstances is JULY 1, 2018.