On May 2, 2012, the B.C. Minister of Labour introduced
amendments to Bill 14 – 2011 Workers'
Compensation Amendment Act, 2011 ("Bill
14"). Bill 14 was originally introduced by the
BC provincial government in November, 2011.
The new amendments include three significant changes to Bill
14. The first major change is that the "mental
stress" referred to in section 5.1 of the Workers'
CompensationAct (the "Act") is
now referred to as "mental disorder."
The second significant change is that section 5.1(1)(b) of the
Act now requires a mental disorder to be diagnosed by a
psychiatrist or psychologist. Previously the requirement was for
diagnosis of a mental stress by a physician or a psychologist.
The third significant change is that Bill 14 will expand the
scope of workers' claims under section 5.1(1) of the
Act. The original version of Bill 14 created a
new sub-category of mental stress (now mental disorder) to include
work-related stressors, or a series of cumulative work-related
stressors. This sub-category has been revised in two ways. First, a
mental disorder must be "predominantly caused by" the
work-related stressors, as opposed to simply a reaction to the
work-related stressors. Secondly, the work-related stressors now
specifically include both bullying and harassment.
Now, after the amendments to Bill 14, under section
5.1(1), a worker will be entitled to compensation, only if the
mental disorder is:
(i) is a reaction to one or more traumatic events arising out of
and in the course of the worker's employment, or
(ii) is predominantly caused by a significant work-related
stressor, including bullying or harassment, or a cumulative series
of significant work-related stressors, arising out of and in the
course of the worker's employment,
(b) is diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist as a mental
or physical condition that is described in the most recent American
Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders at the time of the diagnosis, and
(c) is not caused by a decision of the worker's employer
relating to the worker's employment, including a decision to
change the work to be performed or the working conditions, to
discipline the worker or to terminate the worker's
Assuming that Bill 14 passes the Legislative Assembly this
Session, the changes made to Section 5.1 of the Act will
apply to any claims made or outstanding after July 1, 2012.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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