Workers are being railroaded out of their benefits
Do you suffer from Chronic Mental Stress brought on by workplace harassment, violence or bullying that occurred on or after April 29, 2014 and prior to January 1, 2018? If the answer is yes, you may qualify for WSIB compensation but only if you file your claim before July 1, 2018. See information below.
What is work-related chronic mental stress? Work-related chronic mental stress is 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 in similar circumstances. For example, work-related chronic mental stress could be the result of being subjected to workplace harassment or bullying.
Who would be entitled to support for work-related chronic mental stress under the proposed policy? Three conditions need to be met for a person to be entitled to support:
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.
What’s the difference between work-related chronic mental stress and traumatic mental stress? Work-related traumatic mental stress involves events that are generally accepted as traumatic, such as a criminal act or a horrific accident. In most cases a traumatic event will be sudden and unexpected. For example, being held up at gunpoint at work (such as a gas station or store) could be the cause of work-related traumatic mental stress.
When is chronic mental stress or traumatic mental stress excluded from entitlement under the legislation? An employer’s decisions or actions that are part of the managerial function would not be considered causes of traumatic or chronic mental stress. For example:
changes in working hours, or
changes in productivity expectations.
When will the proposed policy take effect? The policy came into effect on January 1, 2018. This is consistent with the coming into force date of the legislation (Bill 127) which is posted on the website of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
When will people with chronic mental stress be eligible for benefits under the legislation? People who first seek medical attention or are diagnosed (referred to as the “accident date”) with a work-related chronic mental stress disorder on or after January 1, 2018 may be entitled to benefits under the new legislation.
Alert: There is a short window to apply for retroactive coverage if a person was diagnosed with work related Chronic Mental Stress on or after April 29, 2014 and prior to January 1, 2018. Those claims must be submitted to WSIB prior to July 1, 2018.
How do I file a claim? Talk to your local union steward or staff rep to help assess if you have a claim and how to file your application.
The Ontario 2016 Budget indicated that the government hoped to cut WSIB premiums for employers once they dealt with the unfunded liability. In 2009, the Auditor General warned that the WSIB’s costs had begun to significantly outstrip its revenues, putting at risk the WSIB’s capacity to meet its obligations to injured workers. Following a funding review, legislation was passed in 2012 requiring the WSIB to eliminate its unfunded liability by 2027, with interim funding targets in 2017 and 2022. The WSIB has taken significant steps to reduce costs, and its finances have been improved by growth in investment returns and insurable payrolls. After hitting a high of $14.2 billion in 2011, the unfunded liability was $6.8 billion as of the WSIB’s 2015 third quarter that ended September 30, 2015. At the end of its 2015 third quarter, WSIB was close to 78 per cent funded on a sufficiency basis, approaching the 2022 requirement of 80 per cent. The WSIB is now projecting the possibility of reaching full funding by 2022 — five years ahead of the legislated timeline. A more solid financial footing for the WSIB protects worker benefits and supports employers. Due to progress made to date, employer premiums have not been increased for three years. In its “2015 Economic Statement,” the WSIB estimated thatwhen the unfunded liability component is removed from the premium rate, it will be able to deliver $2.4 billion annually in premium reductions. This would represent anaverage premium rate reduction of about 40 per cent, with the average premium rate declining from $2.46 per $100 of payroll to $1.40 to $1.50 in 2015 dollars. It would also make Ontario one of the most competitive provinces in terms of workplace insurance costs, while it remains the province with the lowest allowed lost-time injury rates. An annual $2.4 billion corporate “tax” cut, all paid for by the injured workers of Ontario.
2018 WSIB Conference
Slides and presentations from speakers at OCHU's WSIB Conference, January 16-18, 2018.