October 21, 2014
On October 7, 2014, the Ministry of Labour announced the release of its report entitled “Roundtable on Traumatic Mental Stress: Ideas Generated”. The Roundtable Report is the most recent example of a rising focus by government, tribunals and non-government organizations on work-related Traumatic Mental Stress (TMS).
Recent developments have included:
1. The Ontario WSIAT in April 2014 refusing to apply the restrictions on granting traumatic mental stress (TMS) benefits to situations where the worker experienced an “acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event”. This limitation on compensation for mental injury was found unconstitutional pursuant to s. 15 of the Charter and was not applied. This follows a similar decision from B.C. in 2009; and
2. Publication of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace in January, 2013. This is an expansive Standard suggesting systems and steps which go beyond current OHS, human rights and other legislated requirements in Canada which provide protections to workers from discrimination, harassment, bullying and violence in the workplace. Numerous employers have publicly stated their support for and adoption of the CSA Standard. In a recent example, the Toronto Police announced they are considering the adoption of the Standard (in the wake of numerous incidents of officer suicides).
The roundtable was composed of employer and labour representatives from a variety of organizations in sectors where traumatic events are more likely (e.g. police services, correctional services, transit, nursing, emergency medical services) and focused on gathering insights into means of preventing TMS, reducing stigma, and helping persons who suffer mental stress in the workplace. The goals of the roundtable were promotion of awareness of work-related TMS and sharing best practices across various sectors. The Report describes some of the themes that emerged during discussions and presents numerous ideas for preventing and addressing work-related TMS.
From the perspective of employers, some of the more significant ideas generated and discussed in the Report include the following:
We will continue to closely monitor these developments and provide further updates on how these issues may affect employers.
These ideas are not binding on the government or any other party. However, Premier Wynne’s recent mandate letter to Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, referred to in the MOL News Release identifies support of workplace mental health in general and in particular the expansion of employer-provided TMS services as a key priority. This suggests that employers may be affected by some of the roundtable’s suggestions in the very near future.
If you have any questions about work-related TMS, or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer or CompClaim consultant.
For more information on new developments in Workplace Law, please refer to our website at:
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