Employees’ compensation developments for 2021

6. Entitlement to mental health benefits

The WSIA and WSIB policies state that benefit entitlement must be work-related and have largely focused on physical injuries and occupational diseases. In recent years the WSIB has been asked to deal with complex psychological conditions resulting from psycho-traumatic disabilities and psychological stress. After COVID-19, the WSIB will certainly be required to address remaining mental health issues. These come in the form of depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, PTSD, etc.

2021 could very well be the year when mental health claims begin to overwhelm all other claim types.

Employers have learned that all aspects of a mental health claim are very different from the terms of physical and occupational illness. Nowhere is this more evident than with concussions and minor traumatic brain injuries.

In 2021 and beyond, the WSIB is requested to react in good time and to establish an effective / efficient model for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation as well as rehabilitation, in which accelerated care by qualified medical professionals (psychiatrists and psychologists) is in the foreground. A WSIB mental health claim maintenance program would also be helpful.

Mental health is not the sole responsibility of a WSIB. However, given WSIB’s significant mandate in claims management and administration in 2021, WSIB needs to become a leader in addressing workers’ mental health needs.

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