On November 3, the Provincial government introduced Bill 14 – Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2011. Included in the provisions of this Act were amendments to Section 5.1 (1) (a).
Under the provisions of the current Act, workers are entitled to compensation for mental stress where the mental stress is “an acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event”. In other words, what triggered the stress came from a single traumatic incident.
The proposed changes allow for claims for mental stress where the mental stress is “a reaction to (i) one or more traumatic events arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment, or (ii) a significant work-related stressor, or a cumulative series of significant work-related stressors, arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment”. This change would significantly broaden when claims for mental stress would be paid.
Bill 14 was not called for Second Reading in the recently adjourned session of the legislature. It is expected that the Bill will be called in the Spring session. Employers who have concerns on this significant change have until then to get their concerns registered with the provincial government.