Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 749 21
Z. Onen - D. Thomson - M. Tzaferis
  • Police
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (stress, mental) (chronic)
  • Stress, mental (chronic)

The worker was a police officer investigating crimes against seniors. He suffered a stroke in 2016 and was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder with depression and anxiety in 2017. He appealed an ARO decision denying entitlement for chronic mental stress.

The appeal was allowed.
The worker was exposed to substantial workplace stressors. His duties involved working on cases of abuse and neglect with victims in terrible circumstances, and fraud and theft cases with vulnerable victims. His workload was heavy and there was pressure to complete the cases quickly given the age of the victims.
The worker's employment as a police officer was an occupation that was subject to a high degree of routine stress. Under the Chronic Mental Stress Policy, the substantial workplace stressors to which he was exposed did not need to be excessive in order to qualify for entitlement for chronic mental stress.
The stress caused by the workload did not fall within the exception in the policy for stressors based on a decision or action of the employer. It was an element of the working conditions and not based on a decision or action of the employer. Although his partner did not take on her share of the work, adding to his case load, this did not amount to an interpersonal conflict, but rather increased the pressures and stresses caused by his overall workload.
The worker was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and his psychologist linked the symptoms to the stressors he experienced at work. His mental stress injury was almost entirely due to the substantial stressors at his work. No other cause of note was identified for his depression and anxiety.