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Workplace benefits expanded to include chronic mental stress

Employers will be at higher risk of litigation under new policy
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mental health shutterstock_209357818 2016
Recent amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act will expand the scope of benefit entitlement for mental stress to include chronic mental stress. (File)

Recent amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act will expand the scope of benefit entitlement for mental stress to include chronic mental stress. 

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has just issued the final version of its operational policy, which came into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

The policy states, “A worker will generally be entitled to benefits for chronic mental stress where: 1) there is an appropriate diagnosis; and 2) where the injury is caused by a substantial work-related stressor arising out of and in the course of employment.”

This expanded entitlement for mental stress under WSIA means all employers, specifically those with stressful workplaces, will need to take additional steps to reduce workplace stress and minimize the existence of substantial workplace stressors (as opposed to purely physical restrictions) in order to limit costly and complicated stress-related lost time claims.

“Every day, employers are at risk of health care expenses from long and short-term disability claims, to your typical health care claims, sick time, and loss of productivity due to presenteeissm," said Lisa Lounsbury president of New Day Wellness in Sudbury. "Now is the time to invest in the mental health and wellness of your employees. No longer is it just the responsibility of the employee to remain healthy.”




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