Action for Constructive Dismissal as a Result of Workplace Harassment Statute-Barred by WSIA

  • April 27, 2020
  • Hossein Moghtaderi, Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP

Amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (the “WSIA”), which came into force on January 1, 2018 introduced entitlement for work-related chronic mental stress injuries. The Chronic Mental Stress Operational Policy (Document No. 15-03-14) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (the “WSIB”) came into effect on the same date. The Policy provides that bullying and harassment are examples of substantial work-related stressors that can give rise to a compensable chronic mental stress injury.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (the “WSIAT”) has held that a civil action for constructive dismissal based on alleged workplace harassment and bullying was statute-barred under the WSIA and could not proceed. The WSIAT found that the claim was effectively one for a chronic mental stress injury arising out of employment, which is now an injury compensable under the WSIA. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the “HRTO”) also dismissed an application brought by the same complainant, on jurisdictional grounds, in light of the worker’s civil action.