The April 2014 WSIAT 2157/09 decision which allowed a claims appeal by a nurse who had faced 12 years of ongoing workplace harassment, still divides lawyers on its implications. In this case the Tribunal concluded that claims for work-related mental stress which comes on over time can, like gradual physical injuries, be considered for compensation. The decision found entitlement limitations – subsections 13(4) and 13(5) – of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to be unconstitutional under Charter equality rights.
In the Nov. 10 issue of Law Times, lawyer Jason Beeho points out this is not a legal precedent binding the Tribunal and each claimant for chronic stress will still face an uphill battle. The legislature has not yet proposed an amendment to clarify the Act or repeal the provisions.
Nor has the Board has indicated it will change its Traumatic Mental Stress policy in line with the more flexible approaches taken by BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan