Stressing over worker’s compensation in Ontario

New Ontario legislation expanding benefits eligibility to include more mental health injuries in 2018
By Joel Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 10/19/2017

In 2014, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Appeals Tribunal found that it was unconstitutional to require work-related stress to be traumatic to be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, this requirement effectively remained in place for years. Now, the Ontario legislature has passed Bill 127, which enshrines in law the eligibility of both traumatic and chronic work-related stress. Employment and human rights lawyer Joel Smith looks at what this may mean for employers.

Preventing workplace harassment and managing its impact on workers and the workplace as a whole has been a key focus of several significant pieces of recent Ontario legislation. In March 2016, Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016, received Royal Assent. Bill 132 included significant amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which strengthened employees’ protections against workplace harassment and violence from colleagues, managers, and third parties in the workplace. Bill 132 itself was meant to build on amendments made to the OHSA in 2010 by Bill 168, the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace), which primarily addressed workplace violence but left employees with minimal substantive protections against workplace harassment.

Extending workers’ compensation benefits to chronic mental stress