Access to WorkSafeBC compensation extended for workers with job-related psychological injuries



Effective June 10, the B.C. Ministry of Labour announced that 11 more occupations will be added to the “mental health presumption”, under the Workers Compensation Act.

They include community-integration specialists, coroners, harm-reduction workers, parole officers, probation officers, respiratory therapists, shelter workers, social workers, transition house workers, victim service workers, and withdrawal-management workers.

Occupations not covered by the presumption are still eligible to submit WorkSafeBC claims if the worker believes their psychological injury is job-related.

The “mental health presumption” means that when workers in these occupations receive a formal mental health diagnosis, it’s presumed their work caused their condition, and they no longer have to prove it.

This expedites WorkSafeBC claims and provides workers with more efficient access to treatment and supports, including compensation benefits, once a psychological injury has been diagnosed.

The initiative began in 2018, covering first-responders such as firefighters, police, paramedics, sheriffs and correctional officers. And in 2019, it was extended to include health care assistants, nurses, and others.

“Although we welcome this expansion, we believe the legislation should go further to cover all workers in British Columbia,” says HEU interim secretary-business manager Lynn Bueckert.

“HEU members face extraordinarily high risks for violence and other work-related trauma that can cause psychological injury. The mental health impacts of these events can be very debilitating and life-changing. It’s time we recognize the importance of psychological well-being in promoting and maintaining a healthy workforce.”

For more information, contact your local OH&S committee, shop steward or servicing representative.