On May 31, 2012, the B.C. Legislature passed Bill 14, which
amended the Workers Compensation Act to change
workers' compensation coverage for mental disorders caused by
work. The changes took effect on July 1, 2012 and apply to all
decisions made by the compensation board and Workers'
Compensation Appeals Tribunal as of that date.
The changes include workers' compensation coverage for
"mental disorders." Prior to the changes, workers were
only entitled to compensation if they suffered "mental
stress" that was an acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected
traumatic event that arose out of and in the course of employment.
The amended legislation allows coverage for a "mental
disorder" that is a reaction to one or more traumatic events
that arose out of and in the course of the worker's employment,
or a "mental disorder" that "is predominantly caused
by a significant workrelated stressor, or a cumulative series of
significant work-related stressors, arising out of and in the
course of the worker's employment."
Explanatory documents released by WorkSafeBC provide further
explanation of the changes and point out that the most significant
changes are that the "sudden and unexpected" criteria was
removed from the legislation, and coverage extends to mental health
injuries resulting as a reaction to one or more traumatic events or
significant work-related stressors. Such stressors include bullying
or harassment. WorkSafeBC now requires the worker's mental
disorder be diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist. Prior to
the changes, a worker's physician could provide a
WorkSafeBC has confirmed that the legislative changes retain an
exclusion from coverage for disorders caused by an employer's
decisions relating to a worker's employment (i.e., discipline,
termination, changing the work to be performed or changing the
working conditions). An FAQ document produced by WorkSafeBC states
that "mental disorders caused by decisions relating to
workload and deadlines, work evaluation, performance management,
transfers, lay-offs, demotions and reorganizations are also
excluded from compensation coverage."
WorkSafeBC requires employers to report an incident or mental
disorder within three business days of the injury's occurrence
or within three business days of the employer being aware of
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