On January 1, 2018, a new WSIB policy will come into effect that will allow compensation for work-related chronic mental stress.
ETT and ETFO welcome this new WSIB entitlement, as it will help to provide support to ETT members suffering from mental stress injuries.
Please be advised that there are still many unknowns regarding this policy change, and that additional details concerning its interpretation and implementation will likely be forthcoming. We will be looking to ETFO for further details and clarity on this matter.
What is Work-Related Chronic Mental Stress?
The WSIB defines work-related chronic mental stress as:
“Any diagnosable mental disorder that has been predominantly caused by a substantial work-related stressor or series of stressors. A work-related stressor would generally be considered substantial if it is excessive in intensity and/or duration compared with the normal pressures and tensions experienced by people working in similar circumstances. For example, work-related chronic mental stress could be a mental disorder resulting from being subjected to harassment or bullying at work.”
According to the WSIB, the following are the three conditions that need to be met for a person to be entitled to benefits under this policy change:
- an appropriate regulated health professional, such as a family physician, provides a diagnosis based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM);
- the person has experienced a substantial work-related stressor(s), like workplace bullying or harassment; and
- the work-related stressor(s) must have caused or significantly contributed to the chronic mental stress.
Key Points for ETT Members About the New WSIB Chronic Mental Stress Policy
- The chronic mental stress in which an ETT member is seeking claim must arise out of and in the course of employment.
- An ETT member is not entitled to benefits for mental stress caused by decisions or actions of the worker’s employer relating to the worker’s employment, including a decision to change the work to be performed or the working conditions, or discipline or termination.
Standard of Proof
- The substantial work-related stressor must be the predominant cause of an appropriately diagnosed mental stress injury.
- An ETT member must be diagnosed by an appropriate regulated health professional as based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Physicians, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and psychiatrists are qualified to provide a DSM diagnosis.
- ETT members must report chronic mental stress through the TDSB Employee’s Report of Accident/Injury Form and then complete a WSIB Form 6 when they seek medical attention and/or miss work due to the work-related chronic mental stress injury.
Seeking Health Care
- ETT members need to tell their treating health care practitioner that they are seeking medical attention due to a work-related mental stress injury. This will trigger the health care provider to send a Form 8 to the WSIB.
ETT members with questions or requiring additional information about this WSIB policy change are asked to please contact ETFO at 416-962-3836 and to speak to the Executive Staff on-call for WSIB:
- Donna Howey, Executive Assistant, Professional Relations Services
- Evelyn McGrogan, Executive Assistant, Professional Relations Services