April 18, 2018
As previously reported, under Bill 163 in 2014 the Ontario government created a presumptive entitlement to benefits (including treatment) under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA”) for ‘first responders’ diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
Presumptive PTSD entitlement is now encompassed in Section 14 of the WSIA which identifies the initial 12 categories of workers. Schedule 37 of Bill 31, The 2018 Ontario Budget (“A Plan for Care and Opportunity”) tabled on March 28, 2018 expands this list of entitled workers to 6 more categories, including nurses who directly provide patient care, provincial bailiffs, probation officers and their direct supervisors, and three additional policing occupations.
The presumption provides that for workers seeking entitlement to work-related PTSD, the condition will be presumed to have arisen “out of and in the course of employment”, unless the contrary is shown. In other words, employers will still have the opportunity to rebut a worker’s entitlement to benefits. To qualify for presumptive entitlement, workers will be required to show that they fit within the list of occupations noted above and that they have been diagnosed with PTSD in accordance with DSM-5 by a psychiatrist or psychologist. The exclusion for stress-related conditions arising as a reaction to employer decisions continues to apply (e.g. performance management, discipline, termination, transfer, demotion, etc.).
Occupations 1-12 as they are set out in the legislation are firefighters (including full-time, part-time and volunteer), fire investigators, police officers, members of an emergency response team, paramedics, emergency medical attendants, ambulance service managers, workers in a correctional institution, workers in a place of security custody or place of secure temporary detention and workers involved in dispatch.
Occupations 13-18, the new categories of workers to be covered by presumptive PTSD entitlement include:
Transition rules will also apply to any claims not yet filed, and claims and appeals ‘pending’ at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Appeals Tribunal on the day that the 2018 Budget bill receives Royal Assent.
Current WSIA Section 14 can be found here
Complete copy of Schedule 37 can be found here
If you have questions regarding the impact of these changes, or steps you can take to reduce their impact, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer or CompClaim consultant.