Ontario’s Minister of Labour must step in now that the WSIB has made it clear that they are going to continue to deny workers full recognition of job related chronic mental stress and fair compensation related to job loss, said CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn after learning today of the WSIB’s plan.
The WSIB’s new Chronic Mental Stress Policy, released on the Friday before the Thanksgiving weekend, says that if a worker’s job is confirmed as a significant contributor to their chronic mental stress but is not considered to be greater than another factor, the worker won’t qualify for compensation.
“Chronic work-related stress is very real and it is on the rise. Workers need to know they are protected,” said Hahn. “The WSIB is turning their back on their responsibility to Ontario workers and this can’t be allowed to stand.”
“When all Canadians are being asked to stop denying the mental health challenges faced by so many, it is shockingly disappointing that the WISB would persist in perpetuating that denial,” said Hahn.
CUPE Ontario and its Injured Workers Advocacy Committee add their voices to those of the Ontario Federation of Labour and injured workers organizations across Ontario, insisting the WSIB fix its new chronic mental stress policy.
“We call on Minister Flynn to direct the WSIB to uphold the widely acknowledged approach to compensate where the workplace experience is a ‘significant contributing factor,’ to a worker’s chronic mental stress,” said Mike Bryck, chair of CUPE Ontario’s Injured Workers Advocacy committee. “The WSIB led us to believe this is what they were going to do and it’s what workers desperately need.”
“Today’s policy is just not good enough for Ontario workers in 2017. The Ministry of Labour is ultimately responsible for WSIB and we expect them to do better,” Hahn said. “I strongly hope that Minister Flynn is as disappointed as we are and will make clear to the WSIB that he expects them to fix the policy immediately.”
“Policies like this are made by those at the top of the WSIB, who don’t have to work directly on the cases of injured workers,” Hahn pointed out. “For the caseworkers on the front lines, being forced to deny compensation to injured workers is horrible and stress inducing experience.”