WSIB policy discriminates against workers with chronic mental stress
Locals 175 & 633 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), one of the largest private-sector Local Unions in Canada, demands that the WSIB correct its stance on the causes of work-related chronic mental stress.
The May 2017 Ontario budget contained measures for compensating workers for work-related chronic mental stress. The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) took submissions and held consultations with individuals, businesses, and other stakeholders before it finalized its Chronic Mental Stress Policy.
The disappointing resulting policy, released on Friday, October 6, essentially punishes workers by requiring work to be the predominant cause for chronic mental stress before a worker receives benefits. That requirement ignores the much more reasonable consideration of work as a significant contributing factor.
“With this decision, the WSIB is discriminating against many workers suffering from chronic mental stress,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of UFCW Local 175. “Any chronic stress that can be tied directly to the employer should be claimable. Our Local Union joins the many voices of injured workers and other Unions in demanding that the WSIB fix this policy.”
The implementation of this policy sets a bad precedent. Those suffering work-related mental stress have a higher burden of proof than those who sustain physical injuries. The restrictive language makes it easier for the WSIB to deny rightful claims and, once again, leaves injured workers with less compensation and support during an already stressful time. If this type of policy ever gets applied to physical injuries, it would make it all but impossible for workers to succeed in their workplace injury claims.
“I sincerely urge the Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn, to step up and do what’s right for the workers in this province. He must demand that the WSIB address this issue immediately.”
UFCW Locals 175 & 633 offers assistance to its members with WSIB appeals. Representatives in the Workers’ Compensation department at the Union have seen firsthand the detrimental effects of punitive WSIB policy time and time again.
“The WSIB system is complicated, long, and exhausting already. The horrible irony of this policy is that it will cause more mental stress on those workers,” added Haggerty.
“Chronic stress is a serious health issue, so if an employer’s actions, or inaction, can be found to have caused chronic stress in any amount that should equal a benefit entitlement through WSIB.”
UFCW Locals 175 & 633 represents more than 70,000 Union Members across Ontario in almost every aspect of the economy, and provides WSIB assistance to its members injured on the job.
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