WSIB and Mental Illness

Most workers in Ontario are clearly entitled to Workers’ Compensation payments if they lose income as a result of an injury or illness caused by work. When it comes to mental health issues, however, “illness” has always been defined as “an acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event.” That is what the legislation says.


A man we will call Ted started working a company in 1997 as a labourer.  A year later, having proved himself as a valuable employee, he was promoted to the position of welder.   In October of 1999, while helping a supervisor lift a heavy piece of metal, he strained his back..  His supervisor told him to rest in the lunch room and see if the pain in his lower back subsided. 


QUESTION: I worked as half of a 2 person driving team with my husband driving a transport truck.  One day I was in the back of the cab putting away supplies when a small fridge fell off a shelf above me and landed on my head.  I have been on WSIB now for some time and have been told that my head, neck and back injuries will take a long time to heal.  My doctors have told me that chronic pain has set in and that it is very likely that I will  never return to driving truck.  I have no idea what to do next.  I cannot imagine finding work that I can do that would pay me anywhere near the same money I made working with my husband.  Do you have any ideas?


QUESTION: I suffered an injury at work and following months of physiotherapy, tests and specialists, WSIB decided that I had a permanent injury that prevented me from doing my job.  While my employer did make modifications to my work to accommodate my injuries, they did not like WSIB's decision.  They sent WSIB 6 hours of video tape taken of me in the workplace and around my house to try to show that I was not really injured.  Luckily, WSIB rejected that evidence because it did not show me doing anything that my injuries would not allow.  Do they have a right to do this?