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Implementation of changes to coverage for mental disorders Bill 14

On May 31, 2012, the B.C. legislature passed Bill 14, Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2011. Bill 14 amends section 5.1 of the Workers Compensation Act, changing coverage for mental disorders caused by work, as follows: 

  • Claims may be accepted where the worker’s mental disorder:
    • is a reaction to one or more traumatic events arising out of and in the course of employment, or
    • is predominantly caused by a significant work-related stressor, including bullying or harassment, or a cumulative series of significant work-related stressors, arising out of and in the course of employment.
  • The worker’s mental disorder must be diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist (previously a physician's diagnosis was sufficient) and be one of the conditions described in the most recent American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  • Claims cannot be accepted if the criteria above are not met, or if the worker’s mental disorder is caused by a decision of the employer relating to the worker’s employment, such as changing the work to be performed or the working conditions, or discipline or termination.

Effective date of changes
The effective date of the legislative changes is July 1, 2012 and the revised law and policy will apply to all decisions made by WorkSafeBC or WCAT on or after that date.  This includes decisions made on claims filed, but not finally adjudicated, before July 1, 2012.

Policy amendments
Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual
Related policy amendments were finalized on June 20, 2012. To view the policy, see the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Vol. II, Chapter 3, Policy item #3-13.00.

Prevention Manual
In conjunction with amendments to the Workers Compensation Act relating to compensation for work-related mental disorders, WorkSafeBC began working on a discussion paper and draft occupational health and safety policies on workplace bullying and harassment.

Stakeholders have an opportunity to provide comments on the discussion paper and the proposed policies until September 28, 2012.

For more information, see Occupational health and safety workplace bullying and harassment policy and tool kit.

Mental health claims

WorkSafeBC has created a centralized, Richmond-based team to adjudicate and manage mental disorder claims that are received following the legislative changes. 

The centralized team model will promote timely adjudication and quality decision-making on these complex claims.  Additional treatment and return-to-work programs are also being developed for workers whose claims are accepted for mental disorders.

If you wish to file a claim for a mental disorder caused by work, please contact our Teleclaim Contact Centre at 1 888 WORKERS (1 888 967-5377) or #5377 for Telus, Rogers, and Bell mobility customers.  Customer Service Representatives are available to assist you between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday to Friday.

For questions about mental health claims, call the Claims Call Centre, in the Lower Mainland at 604 231-8888 or toll-free in Canada at 1 888 967-5377.

Safe, healthy workplaces
WorkSafeBC will develop an occupational health and safety prevention tool kit for employers and workers to assist workers and employers in understanding, preventing and addressing bullying and harassment in the workplace. For more information, see Occupational health and safety workplace bullying and harassment policy and tool kit.

While Prevention Manual policies on bullying and harassment and the tool kit are being developed, the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation dealing with workplace conduct and workplace violence are being enforced.

For more information about creating and maintaining safety and healthy workplaces,

  • Contact the Prevention Information Line, in the Lower Mainland at 604 276-3100 or toll-free within Canada at 1 888 621-SAFE (7233)
  • Visit WorkSafeBC.com > Safety at Work > Violence Prevention

Information sessions

WorkSafeBC staff are meeting with various employer and union groups to discuss these changes. In addition, information sessions were held in Vancouver and Victoria in late July. If you were unable to attend, you can view this information session, recorded on July 16, 2012.

Mental disorder claims fact sheet

For more information about the legislative changes to adjudicating mental disorder claims, see fact sheet.