NDP Introduce Bill to Expand Mental Health Supports for Workers

May 9th, 2019

Manitoba NDP MLA for Flin Flon Tom Lindsey introduced Bill 224 The Workers Compensation Amendment Act (Psychological Stressors) to make it easier for Manitoba workers struggling with mental health to get the supports they need.

“We know that having a rewarding job gives Manitobans purpose and meaning in their life; but stressors in the workplace can often contribute to mental health challenges,” said Lindsey. “This bill will help workers take the time they need to focus on their health without worrying about money, so they can get help, feel better and go back to work.”

Bill 224 amends the existing Act by expanding coverage of workplace accidents to include supports for workers who experience a stress-induced mental disorder. A stress-induced disorder is defined in the bill as a condition, diagnosed by a physician or psychologist, that is a reaction to traumatic events or stressors arising out of and in the course of a worker’s employment.

The bill also mandates the Workers Compensation Board to provide a five-year strategic plan for the Minister which reviews workplace health and safety policies, medical aid policies and prevention activities. The plan must also report on expected trends in workplace illness or injury and the resulting compensation to workers.

Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck expressed his support for the bill.

“Manitobans deserve support when they get hurt on the job, whether the injury is physical or mental,” said Rebeck. “There is a growing awareness of the impact that work can have on people’s mental health. We need to overcome stigma and barriers to helping workers who are facing mental health challenges, and this bill would be transformative in doing just that. We would hope that all parties support this plan to build stronger coverage for mental health injuries in the workplace.”