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Presentation to Capilano University Faculty Association

Presentation to Capilano University Faculty Association

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Presentation to Capilano University Faculty Association

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  1. Presentation to Capilano University Faculty Association

  2. Overview • Workplace stress emerging as critical issue. • Research shows it has serious consequences for workers and workplaces. • Law, policy and regulatory reforms are playing catch-up. • Recent court decisions and legislative changes highlight the pressure to close the gap.

  3. Overview: Research • Surveys show workplace stress more than “incidental” • NIOSH report showed: • 40% of workers reported their job was stressful or very stressful • 25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives

  4. Overview: Research • 75% of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago • 26% of respondents said they often or very often felt burned out by work • Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems

  5. Overview: Part of a Larger Continuum • Policy debate: crossover from mental stress to mental illness • Where is the onus on employers to guard against mental stress and its potential for causing greater problems? • CMHA: 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime • Mental illness affects people of all incomes, ages, occupations, cultures

  6. Overview: Management practices that precipitate or aggravate mental stress • Report by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, “Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada” • Unreasonable demands on subordinates • Withholding important information • Refusing to give reasonable discretion • Failing to credit or acknowledge contributions and/or achievements • Creating a treadmill at work — too much to do, all at once, all the time

  7. Overview: Management practices that precipitate or aggravate mental stress • Creating perpetual doubt — employees never sure what’s happening • Allowing mistrust to take root • Tolerating ambiguity and unclear expectations • Sub-par performance management practices • Lack of two-way communications • Management rejecting, out of hand, employee concerns about workload

  8. Law & Policy Change in BC • 2009 BC Court of Appeal said WCB Act Discriminated. • BC Human Rights Tribunal complaints re: gradual onset stress. • Legal opinion from AG said law needed to change. • BC Human Rights Tribunal complaints put on hold.

  9. Law & Policy Change in BC • Bill 14 introduced, November 2011 • First reading, “mental stress”, “physician” • Third reading, “mental disorder”, “psychiatrist” “registered psychologist”, “DSM diagnosis” • Bullying and harassment added • Excludes claim related to labour relations

  10. Law & Policy Change in BC Law & Policy Change in BC • Policy defines conditions for coverage. Early days, evolving • Criteria include one or more traumatic events. • Events must be identifiable. • “predominantly” caused by work-related stressor or cumulative.

  11. Law & Policy Change in BC Law & Policy Change in BC • Predominant cause test: significant work-related stressor or cumulative are the primary cause of disorder. • Causative significance: more than trivial. • Assess connection between stressors and work.

  12. Law & Policy Change in BC Law & Policy Change in BC • Labour relations exclusions include: • Decision to change work or conditions. • Discipline • Termination

  13. Law & Policy Change in BC Law & Policy Change in BC • Bullying and harassmentcited in the legislation as examples of significant work-related stressors • Predominant cause test applies. • Cumulative and traumatic also factor into this.

  14. Law & Policy Change: Implications for OH&S • Prevention parallels access to coverage • Workplace health and safety plan • Strategy to prevent problems • Role of the Workplace OH&S Committee • Mandatory training of OH&S Committee