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Nova Scotia’s government to add long-term mental stress to workers compensation

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s government is introducing legislation that would allow citizens who suffer from prolonged mental stress to claim workers compensation.

The claim for lost wages for what’s referred to in the amendment as “gradual onset stress” would be submitted to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia for approval.

Existing workplace stress injury benefits under the province’s Workers’ Compensation Act cover only an acute reaction to a traumatic event.

The province says the legislative change would bring Nova Scotia in line with other jurisdictions across Canada but would be a first among Atlantic provinces.

Amanda Silliker, a spokeswoman for the Labour Department, says examples of long-term stress include repeated exposure to trauma experienced by police and paramedics, or persistent, ongoing harassment or bullying resulting in psychological injury.

Under the proposed law, workers wouldn’t be able to make claims for long-term stress related to evaluations of their performance, a change in job description or interpersonal conflicts.

If adopted, the new coverage would be available to workers by next September, permitting the compensation board to recruit specialized staff and conduct further consultations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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