BC expands Workmen’s Compensation for mental stress benefits
British Columbia has joined Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Yukon, Nunavat and Northwest Territories in expanding workers’ eligibility for stress benefits. BC Labour Minister MacDiarmid announced that the provincial government is amending the Workers’ Compensation Act to cover employees beyond the initial acute reaction to a sudden and traumatic event.
Workers who suffer from an accumulation of work-related stress may also be granted benefits once the law is amended. However, the Minister stated an employee must have a medical diagnosis to be considered and stress related to termination, discipline or workplace change would not be covered.
It is anticipated that extension of these benefits could cost the government an additional $10 to $18 million per year however they could potentially be offset by a reduction in hidden costs resulting from a decrease in workplace productivity due to mental health disorder.
Read the Toronto Star article on this announcement at www.thestar.com