On May 17, 2017, Bill 127 (Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act) received Royal Assent. The Bill modified the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to allow WSIB benefits for workers who suffer from chronic mental stress in the course of their employment.
For years, those of us that practice in the area of Employment Law have taken it as a given: if you suffer from mental distress caused by circumstances in the workplace, you cannot bring a WSIB claim except in very limited circumstances. Unlike physical injuries, WSIB would not cover psychological or emotional damage, even if it could be shown to be a workplace injury. That has now been called into question, as a Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal found that the statutory provision limiting the entitlement to benefits for mental distress is inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, therefore, unconstitutional.
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