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RSS FeedsNew WSIB policy on mental health will set workers back decades, critics say
(The Star Food)


15 october 2017 14:40:02

New WSIB policy on mental health will set workers back decades, critics say
(The Star Food)

A new mental health policy at the provincial workers compensation board leaves workplace accident victims “in a worse position than they have ever been,” according to a coalition of legal experts and injured worker advocates.The policy, announced last week, requires workers making claims for chronic mental stress to meet a higher standard of proof to get compensation than those with other kinds of work-related injuries. In a letter sent this week to Premier Kathleen Wynne, a coalition of 12 legal clinics and private practice lawyers said this violates the charter rights of workers with mental health issues, denying them equal protection under the law.“The (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s) policy will set workers with mental disabilities back decades. Most workers with mental disabilities will not be able to get WSIB support because of this new policy,” said Maryth Yachnin, a lawyer with the Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario, a signatory of the letter.The policy affects workers who believe they have suffered prolonged trauma on the job: for example, a nurse who has experienced years of sexual harassment and subsequently developed depression.Such workers were previously excluded from making compensation claims at all, which the WSIB’s independent appeals tribunal ruled to be unconstitutional. Earlier this year, the provincial government passed new laws to remove the exclusion.But the legislation also gives the WSIB latitude to create its own guidelines on how to administer legislative requirements. The board’s new chronic mental health policy will require workers to prove their workplace was the “primary or main cause” of their illness — a different standard than other injured workers must meet.Usually, workers need only prove their workplace was one significant contributing cause to their injuries in order to receive compensation — a principle that is “firmly establishedR ...
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