B.C. expands Workers Compensation Act mental-health presumption to more workers

11 new occupations will benefit from fast-tracked mental health claims process with WorkSafeBC

B.C. expands Workers Compensation Act mental-health presumption to more workers

British Columbia is providing more workers with easier access to workers’ compensation for psychological injuries caused by work-related trauma.

The provincial government had added 11 occupations to the mental-health presumption under the Workers Compensation Act. These include:

  • community-integration specialists
  • coroners
  • harm-reduction workers
  • parole officers
  • probation officers
  • respiratory therapists
  • shelter workers
  • social workers
  • transition house workers
  • victim service workers
  • withdrawal-management workers

The change took effect June 10.

Nearly seven in 10 employees say that their mental health stayed the same or worsened in the past year, according to a previous report from Calm.com.

What is the mental health presumption regulation in BC?

A presumption under the act provides that if a worker has been employed in specific occupations and develops a disease or disorder that is recognized as being associated with that occupation, then the condition is presumed to have been due to the nature of their work, unless the contrary is proved, explained the B.C. government. With a presumptive condition, there is no longer a need to prove that a claimant’s disease or disorder is work-related once a formal diagnosis has been made.

The act and regulations outline specific cancers, heart injury and diseases that impact firefighter groups with respect to presumptions. Amendments to the act in May 2018 added mental-health disorders to the list of presumptions for federal and municipal firefighters, as well as police, paramedics, sheriffs and correctional officers.

“The mental-health presumption fast tracks the claims process with WorkSafeBC and provides workers faster access to treatment and workers’ compensation benefits once a formal diagnosis of the psychological injury has been made. These changes will help ensure the workers who are counted on to care for others also receive the support they need,” said the B.C. government.

The B.C. Ministry of Labour developed two criteria for extending the mental-health presumption to other eligible occupations:

  • workers in the proposed occupation must be exposed to traumatic events because of the nature of their work in that occupation; and
  • the occupation can be clearly defined to designate the workers who are exposed to traumatic events due to the nature of their work.

Workers whose occupations are not covered by the presumption can still submit a claim with WorkSafeBC if they believe their mental-health illness or injury is caused by work-related factors.

Three-quarters (73%) of middle managers in Canada are experiencing burnout, according to a previous Capterra report.


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