Policy Revisions: The Role of Corroborating Witness Evidence in Traumatic and Chronic Mental Stress Claims

  • April 17, 2024
  • Julie Weller, partner at Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP

The WSIB's revisions to Operational Policy Manual (OPM) document 15-03-02, Traumatic Mental Stress and OPM document 15-03-14, Chronic Mental Stress came into effect on March 1, 2024.

The changes clarified the role of witness evidence in the adjudication of Chronic and Traumatic Mental stress. This clarification is the same in each policy. The policies now specify that while the absence of witness evidence may be relevant, the absence will not necessarily preclude entitlement:

For greater clarity, it is not necessary for the worker's account of what happened to be corroborated by other witnesses to be accepted. Witness evidence that corroborates or refutes the worker's account may be relevant. The absence of witness evidence that corroborates the worker's account does not automatically result in the denial of entitlement. The absence of such evidence, however, may be a relevant factor to consider, particularly in cases where such evidence would be reasonably expected under the circumstances. In cases where corroborating witness evidence is not available, the decision-maker must still assess and weigh all other relevant and available evidence, including the worker’s own account as well as any evidence submitted by the worker, to determine the likelihood that the event(s) occurred as described.

When corroborating witness evidence is not available, employer and worker representatives may want to consider addressing why the lack of evidence is (or is not) relevant to determining the likelihood that the event(s) occurred as described.

Below we have included a link to a comparison document that compares the prior and revised policy to allow readers to easily identify the changes:

Comparison Document - WSIB Policy 15-03-02 "Traumatic Mental Stress"

Comparison Document - WSIB Policy  15-03-14 "Chronic Mental Stress"

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