Saskatchewan Bill39 and what it means to you!

Saskatchewan Bill39 is now in effect regarding WCB mental health claims including PTSD.  What does this mean to you?  Psychological injury claims have been recognized by WCB and adjudicated based on the WCB psychological injury policy that has been in place since 1992. Up until now, the claimant has been required to provide evidence that the injury is work-related to be eligible for benefits. This has deterred most claimants from even applying for benefits as it was the standard procedure for the WCB to examine the background of people applying for coverage.  This examination of the claimant’s background could include talking to their co-workers, managers and employers.  It could even involve WCB conducting an audit.  Claimants would have to jump through hoop after hoop to prove that the traumatic event or events caused the PTSD, which delayed diagnosis and ultimately delayed treatment.

Bill 39 which is an amendment to The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013, establishes a reputable presumption for those experiencing work-related psychological injuries.  Under this new section, 28.1, the process for applying for worker’s compensation for a psychological injury is the same as for someone applying for benefits for a physical injury.  As they did before, a worker will have to be diagnosed as having a psychological injury by a psychiatrist or psychologist and provide that information to the Workers’ compensation Board.  No longer must the worker provide evidence that the psychological injury is the result of a work-related event.  This amendment gives the benefit of the doubt to the worker when a claim for compensation has been made. It is now presumed that a worker has sustained the injury as a result of their work unless there is evidence to the contrary.  Saskatchewan is the first jurisdiction to establish a presumption for all forms of psychological injury incurred through work, not just post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to apply this to all workers.

The Bill is retroactive and will cover injuries that occurred prior to the date of the Bill’s Proclamation. If an injured worker’s claim for psychological injury was denied previously, they can ask their Saskatchewan WCB CES or Case Manager for reconsideration under the new legislation. The WCB CES and Case Manager will require details of how the injury occurred at work and a diagnosis from a psychologist or psychiatrist based on the standards established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMV).

WCB states that employer premium rates are not expected to increase. It is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of claims for compensation. It is not expected that there will be a significant increase in cost as the majority of these claims would have been accepted under the existing policy.


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