Understanding WSIB: Psychological Conditions

Welcome back to our series on understanding workers’ compensation claims in Ontario. Today, we’re looking at psychological conditions. (You can find a list of the previously-covered topics in this series at the end of this post.)

What Psychological Conditions Can I Make a WSIB Claim For ?

One general category of claims is psychological conditions caused directly by your job. Some examples of those are:

  • Chronic mental stress – These are conditions brought about by substantial work-related stressors such as bullying or workplace harassment. Often the result is depression or anxiety.
  • Traumatic mental stress – These are conditions such as stress disorders, PTSD, adjustment disorders, anxiety or depressive disorders. They are brought on by experiencing a traumatic event at work that’s sudden, unexpected, and involves the threat of harm or death.
  • PTSD in first responders – By their nature, some occupations (such as firefighters, EMTs, police officers, corrections workers) involve highly stressful and traumatic situations and there is a WSIB policy that covers workers in those types of jobs specifically.

Another general category is psychological conditions that are an indirect result of a workplace injury. For instance, a worker who experiences a life-changing workplace injury or illness may also suffer related emotional and mental health consequences. These can lead to serious anxiety or depression. Under WSIB’s policies, that may be considered a “Psychotraumatic Disability.”

In all cases, in order to make a psychological condition claim, the worker needs to have a diagnosis in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), provided by a physician, nurse practitioner, psychologist or psychiatrist.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Regardless of the type of disability insurance, “invisible” injuries or illnesses can be tough claims to pursue. To make matters worse, the WSIB has been reluctant to approve mental stress claims.

Things can also get a little complicated when the worker has a pre-existing and non-work-related psychological condition. It will be important to clearly demonstrate the interplay between the pre-existing condition and the new one. This is a scenario where having an experienced disability lawyer on your side is very important. Don’t hesitate to contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation.


See our previous posts in this series here: