If you are injured or become ill as a result of your work, you may be eligible for WorkSafeBC benefits, including healthcare expenses and wage loss compensation.
If you're injured at work:
Mental disorder presumption legislation is a change to the Workers Compensation Act which fast-tracks the claims process for workers in eligible occupations seeking to access support and compensation for their mental disorders. It presumes that a formal diagnosis of a mental disorder is a reaction to traumatic events arising out of, and in the course of, a worker's employment.
When initially introduced in summer 2018, this language only applied to police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, sheriffs and emergency medical assistants (paramedics). Immediately, BCNU called for nurses to be included in this legislation.
Following considerable advocacy by individual nurses, BCNU, and other health-care organizations, the government amended the list of eligible occupations on April 16, 2019, to include all nurses regulated by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives. Emergency dispatchers and care aides have also been included.
Following considerable advocacy by individual nurses, BCNU, and other health-care organizations, the government amended the list of eligible occupations to include all nurses regulated by the BC College of Nursing Professionals. Emergency dispatchers and care aides have also been included.
This change was made on April 16, 2019.
In order to be covered by mental disorder presumption legislation, the following must apply:
WorkSafeBC policy defines a "traumatic event" as "an emotionally shocking event." Not all events will be considered emotionally shocking and WorkSafeBC will need to consider whether the event is traumatic before applying the presumption. This definition is fairly broad and, depending upon circumstances, can include incidents of workplace violence as well as negative patient outcomes.
A person is still entitled to compensation even if they have experienced similar traumatic events in the past without suffering a mental disorder.
A mental disorder diagnosis must be made by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. A diagnosis from an attending physician or any other health-care provider does not meet the criteria outlined in the Workers Compensation Act (WCB). However, you should not wait to file a claim until you are able to see a psychologist or psychiatrist as this may cause your claim to be denied. If all the other criteria are met, WorkSafeBC can arrange for a psychological assessment.
After the situation is made immediately safe, document what happened as soon as possible. If you are an employee of a health authority, you must call the Workplace Health Call Centre at 1-866-922-9464 to report the incident with them. If you do not work for a health authority, contact your manager to clarify the process for reporting incidents at your worksite.
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible if there is a concern about how the traumatic incident may impact your mental health. Delay in seeking medical attention after a traumatic event may result in your claim being denied.
If a decision or an appeal decision has not yet been made, and the other requirements are met, then the presumption will likely apply to your claim.
If you have not yet made a claim, you should do so immediately. A delay in filing your claim can result in it being denied.
Feel free to contact the BCNU for further support with your circumstances. You can contact your steward, regional executive or the BCNU Occupational Health and Safety department directly.
In order to submit a claim to WorkSafeBC related to a mental health disorder, you must contact them. They can be reached two different ways.
BCNU is available to offer assistance. Reach out to your local steward and regional chair for support. If your claim is denied, contact the BCNU WCB appeals department.
If WorkSafeBC denies your claim, and you want to appeal, contact BCNU immediately. The appeal process is complex and includes strict timelines, but WorkSafeBC advocates are available to support and represent you.
Contact BCNU at 604-433-2268 or 1-800-663-9991 for the name of the WorkSafeBC advocate assigned to your region.
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