Will the WSIB Finally Allow Mental Stress Claims? 

by | Dec 12, 2016 | For Employees

Many employees who are injured or become ill because of their job may claim for benefits from the Worker’s Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). If the claim is successful, WSIB benefits may include compensation for lost earnings, future economic loss, or health care benefits.

While mental health issues are becoming more prevalent, it continues to be difficult to prove that the workplace has caused mental stress. Currently, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (the “Act”) limits claims for mental stress to acute reactions to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event during employment. For example, witnessing a colleague severely injured in the workplace. Employees struggling with mental health issues because of prolonged workplace trauma continue to face obstacles accessing WSIB benefits.

As I have written before, the section of the Act dealing with mental stress was found to be unconstitutional by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal. However, the Act still includes the restriction on claims for mental stress and the WSIB continues to follow the Act.

A recent article reported that the WSIB is discussing amendments to the Act with the Ministry of Labour. Such amendments would allow greater access for employees who suffer mental health issues because of workplace trauma.

This is certainly a positive step for disabled employees.  However, I would argue that even now the WSIB does not have to follow the mental stress provision of the Act because it has been found unconstitutional. By continuing to apply this restriction, the WSIB is treating physical and mental disabilities differently and discriminating against employees suffering from mental illnesses.

Even though claims for mental stress in the workplace are limited through the WSIB, employees may have other legal avenues to pursue. For example, employees can claim discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code if an employer is treating them differently because of a mental health disability.

If you are unsure whether to file a WSIB claim, or if you are dealing with a mental health issue at work and need legal advise, please contact us at  [email protected] or 1-888-640-1728 (toll free) or 647-633-9894 (within the GTA).

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.



Recent Posts

Laid Off and No Recall in Sight?

The Employment Standards Act the (“ESA”) contains a provision which allows for temporary lay-off. Pre Covid-19, the ESA told employers that they could lay off an employee for 13 out of 20 weeks, or 35 out of 52 weeks if the employer continues the employee’s benefits, for example.

read more

Paid Sick Leave? Sort of

With the numbers of COVID-19 cases rising again, especially in the GTA, many employees are asking me as a Toronto employment lawyer what happens if they become sick and they are forced to stay home for 14 days. Following the end of the Canada Emergency Response...

read more

Toronto Office

702 - 2 Bloor Street West,
Toronto, ON M4W 3E2

Barrie Office

277 - 92 Caplan Avenue,
Barrie, ON L4N 9J2

Collingwood Office

220 - 1 First Street
Collingwood, ON
L9Y 1A1



+1 (888) 640-1728


(866) 883-8445


[email protected]

Toronto Office

702 - 2 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON M4W 3E2

Barrie Office

277 - 92 Caplan Avenue, Barrie ON L4N 9J2

Collingwood Office

220 - 1 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1A1


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!