Psychological injuries

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All covered workers are eligible for compensation and medical treatment if they suffer a psychological injury from being directly exposed to a traumatic event(s) in the course of their work. Read what is considered a traumatic event or a series of traumatic events and how to apply for compensation.

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The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the Act) provides coverage for psychological injuries as a result of a traumatic event or a series of traumatic events at work.

Frequently asked questions

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A: All workers who are covered by the Act are eligible for compensation and medical treatment if they suffer a psychological injury from being directly exposed to a traumatic event or a series of traumatic events as part of, or in the course of, their employment. This coverage applies to all industries and occupations covered by the Act. 

A: A single traumatic event or a series of traumatic events can include: 

  • Direct exposure to actual or threatened death or serious injury to worker and/or others. 
  • An event or series of events that are specific or sudden and generally accepted from a public perspective as being unusually shocking or horrific. 
  • Workload or work-related interpersonal incidents that are excessive and unusual in comparison to pressures and tensions experienced in normal employment. These must be beyond the normal scope of maintaining employment from a public perspective. 

A: If you’ve been exposed to a traumatic event or a series of traumatic events at work and suffer from psychological symptoms, you should: 

  1. Seek immediate medical attention. This can include a psychologist, general practitioner or psychiatrist. Have them report to the WCB.
  2. Report the traumatic event(s) to your employer right away. Your employer is required to report all work injuries to WCB within five days of becoming aware of an incident that requires medical attention or time away from work.  
  3. Fill out a Worker’s Initial Report of Injury (W1) form as soon as possible. You do not need to wait for your employer to file with our board first. You can submit this form:
    1. Online: W1 online reporting.
    2. Email:  W1 PDF and email to forms@wcbsask.com.
    3. Phone: Contact a representative of our office at 1.800.667.7590
  4. Complete and submit the Authorization to Release Information and Documentation (WMROI) form. This will allow the WCB to access relevant medical information necessary to help the WCB make a decision on your claim. 

A:

  • The WCB screens the claims to determine if the events leading to your claim fall within the scope of our coverage.
  • If it is immediately evident that your situation is covered, you will be notified as soon as possible by phone and in writing.
  • If it is immediately evident that your situation is not covered, the WCB will notify you as soon as possible by phone and in writing. You may be asked to provide a copy of your WCB decision letter to your disability provider as proof that the WCB has reviewed and denied your claim.
  • If it is unclear whether or not your situation would be covered, the WCB will develop your claim. Further development may include:
    • Obtaining relevant medical information. This may include medical information that pre-dates the work events.
    • Speaking to other people who may be able to provide further clarification.
    • Completing a file review (done by a medical consultant).
    • Sending you for a mental health assessment.

A:

  • Mental health assessments can be done at several locations throughout the province or outside of the province. If you are required to attend an assessment outside of your home jurisdiction, the WCB will arrange travel expenses and booking arrangements for you. 
  • Mental health assessments are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). They are done by a WCB accredited psychologist or psychiatrist to determine if you meet the criteria for a DSM diagnosis. 
  • The testing and evaluation process of the mental health assessments helps determine the predominant cause of the diagnosis, a treatment plan, barriers to recovery and recommendations for return-to-work planning.

A: The Act was amended in 2016 to recognize psychological injury:

28.1 (2) Unless the contrary is proven, if a worker or former worker is diagnosed with a psychological injury by a psychiatrist or psychologist, that injury is presumed to be an injury that arose out of and in the course of the worker’s employment.

This means you need to have a diagnosis in order to meet the presumptive clause. Saskatchewan is the first jurisdiction to establish a presumption for all forms of psychological injury incurred through work (not just for post-traumatic stress disorder) and to apply it to all workers.

A: The legislation is retroactive and covers injuries that occurred prior to 2016. If you have a claim that was previously denied, you will need to ask for reconsideration. The legislation applies to new claims, even if the work injury pre-dates 2016.

A: Your first step is to contact the WCB representative who made the decision on your claim. If you unsure of who this is, contact 1.800.667.7590 and your call will be directed to an appropriate representative. You would then ask for reconsideration of your claim. The WCB would then follow our decision making process. For more information, here is what you can expect after you have submitted your claim. 

A: You have the right to appeal any claim decision you disagree with. You can email your appeal to appeals@wcbsask.com, fill out the online appeal form, or write to the appeals department. Learn more about appealing a decision.

If you need assistance in submitting an appeal, the Office of the Workers’ Advocate can provide free and independent services. You can contact them at workersadvocate@gov.sk.ca or call 1.877.787.2456.

A: We had heard from groups such as PTSD Saskatoon and the Saskatchewan Professional Fire Fighters Association about the importance of amending the Act to better meet the needs of those making a claim for psychological injuries.

All too often there is a stigma attached to mental health issues, making it more difficult for those who are experiencing them to come forward and seek help. We hope to ensure that those with psychological injuries stemming from their jobs will feel comfortable and confident seeking support, including filing a claim with the WCB.

A: Below is a contact list of psychological health and wellness resources available to you in Saskatchewan or view the PDF version.

Psychological health and wellness resources

Location Name Description Contact information
Saskatchewan Mobile Crisis Helpline Free, 24/7
confidential
crisis support
306.757.0127
info@mcsregina.ca
Northern
Saskatchewan
Northeast Crisis Line Free, 24/7
confidential
crisis support
1.800.611.6349
Prince Albert Prince Albert Mobile
Crisis Unit
Free, 24/7
confidential
crisis support
306.764.1011
Regina Regina Crisis Services Free, 24/7
confidential
crisis support
306.525.5333
Saskatoon Saskatoon Crisis
Intervention Service
Free, 24/7
confidential
crisis support
306.933.6200
info@saskatooncrisis
.ca
Southwest
Saskatchewan
Southwest Crisis
Services
Free, 24/7
confidential
crisis support
1.800.567.3334
Saskatchewan Healthline 811 Free, 24/7
confidential
crisis support
8.1.1
Saskatchewan Suicide Helpline Free, 24/7
confidential
crisis support
306.764.1011
Canada Canada Suicide
Prevention Service
Free, 24/7
confidential
suicide related
support
1.833.456.4566

For additional psychological health and safety resources, please visit the Psychological Health and Safety Resource Centre on WorkSafe Saskatchewan's website: www.worksafesask.ca/resources/psych-health-safety-resource-centre/ 

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