Canadian HR Reporter

July 13, 2015

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 19

CANADIAN HR REPORTER July 13, 2015 2 NEWS Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E ACROSS CANADA Callers to government 1-800 number made to hurry up and wait for EI information Long wait times likely due to reduction of 120 call centres to 19 Sobeys to eliminate 1,300 back office jobs as new distribution centres open Company expanding, reorganizing Public pension plans getting overhaul in Newfoundland and Labrador Changes come into effect Jan. 1 Public sector jobs increased more than private sector over decade: Report Difference particularly stark in Ontario Fired B.C. workers call for public inquiry Government admits dismissals 'regrettable mistake' Winnipeg police apologize after sex talk broadcast from helicopter Didn't realize public address system was on AROUND THE WORLD Several in custody after attack on French gas factory leaves 1 beheaded, 2 wounded Employees have been evacuated, accounted for U.S. lawsuit claims companies illegally refused to hire ex-cons Says policies kept many black people out of workforce National taxi strike in France after rising tensions over Uber Nearly 100 Uber drivers have been attacked in recent weeks Ikea to increase minimum hourly pay by 10 per cent as it seeks to reduce turnover Average minimum hourly wage to increase to US$11.87 in January Lebanon launches hotline for women domestic workers to report abuse Country hosts more than 200,000 migrant domestic workers Following the leader Marc Hurwitz, Chief Insight Officer of FliPSkills, sat down with Canadian HR Reporter TV to talk about while leadership gets most of the attention, followership is a critical skill to develop. FEATURED VIDEO Full-time | Part-time | Online Immigration Consultant Diploma Program FOR INFORMATION & APPLICATION: 604.628.5784 or 1.844.628.5784 Qualifying as a regulated immigration consultant allows you to assist and represent foreign talent in the immigration process. "Canada is positioned as a global leader in knowledge, innovation, low tax rates and job creation. This means that Canada can attract top talent and investment from around the world." - Hon. James Moore, MP Minister of Industry need it, then perhaps we avoid those long-term effects totally." In the current system, employ- ees across Canada aren't allowed to go after their employer through the legal system because they have workers' compensation coverage, he said. "(Employers are) immune to being held legally accountable yet if (employees) suffer from PTSD and have lots of hoops to jump through, they have no other recourse, so we think it's very ap- propriate that it be presumptive legislation that helps people get the help they need quickly," said Rebeck. "There have been ongoing problems and challenges with getting WSIB (Workplace Safety Insurance Board) recognition of PTSD coverage, so there has been some strong advocacy to have this looked at and dealt with." Right now, potentially, anyone can get coverage, he said. "But our experience is that the test is really, really high and takes a long time to prove and faces a lot of challenges, and this makes it much easier for people," said Rebeck. "Just because you're in a cer- tain type of occupation doesn't mean others aren't exposed in the workplace and through the course of their employment to traumatic events that have an impact on them, and they should be covered as well." Potential downsides While there may be some value in doing this presumptive change for specific occupations where people are at a higher risk for PTSD, applying this to all work- ers is putting forward a legislative change before all the due diligence has been done, said Elliot Sims, di- rector of provincial affairs, Mani- toba, for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in Winnipeg. "We haven't seen any evidence that suggests that PTSD has got a significant delay or length of time between the injury being reported and it being evaluated, so we don't see that there's any sort of time lag that would really impact the treatment, or at least it hasn't been provided by the government," he said. "If we knew that there was a backlog in terms of cases that have been moved to an expert and that it was slowing down the analysis, evaluation and obviously treat- ment of it, that's one discussion, but there's been no information provided." It's important to have a formal process in place that accurately evaluates and diagnoses PTSD and doesn't short-circuit the pro- gram that's in place for all psy- chological illnesses and degrade the quality of service the WCB is providing, said Sims. "PTSD is a very difficult thing to diagnose because it can have such a long latency period and there can be a lot of contributing factors to it that might not all be work- related, so what the legislation is doing is basically short-circuiting or fast-forwarding the traditional evaluation period," he said. "at's what we're kind of con- cerned about is because this will be the only workplace injury that has this special provision." ere doesn't appear to be any need for this kind of broad ap- proach being pushed by Mani- toba, said William Gardner, part- ner and chair of the labour and employment group at Pitblado in Winnipeg. "e fact that no other jurisdic- tion does this means that we've got no experience on which we can draw in terms of testing these consequences — it means we've kind of launched Manitoba into the unknown," he said. "In the absence of any evidence that the current system in any way is failing employees, walking off a cliff isn't really a good idea." Rising costs? ere's an obvious risk for invalid claims and there's going to be a lot of pressure on physicians to diag- nose PTSD, said Gardner, who is also chair of the Manitoba Em- ployers Council. "An employer might get a huge bill in the form of a big change in their experience rating due to a PTSD claim which is not actually work-related but because of the presumption. If you can't prove the contrary, then the employer is stuck with an increase in their premiums." The WCB has seen a small number of claims around PTSD — fewer than 20 in the last few years — said Preece, though that number is not entirely accurate as often a claim is made around an injury and the onset of PTSD oc- curs later. For instance, there were 418 other psychological claims in the same time period, and PTSD could have been diagnosed there, he said. "(But) you'd kind of expect there to be a small number because these types of events are rare that lead to PTSD," said Preece. "We're also in very good fi- nancial shape right now so we're not expecting anything that would create enough expense to warrant employers' rates going up. It's not like an ironclad guar- antee but we're not expecting it." When people talk of rates rising with the change, it's like Chicken Little claiming the sky is falling, said Rebeck. "It's not going to be a huge, sub- stantive change and I don't think people will see a huge change in rates. e reality is that employ- ers have been able to let the public system pay for this in a different way, rather than them being liable, and our workers have had to pay out of their own pockets for a long time. "So if (employers have) been gaming the system on it for a number of years, saying that 'We don't get to game the system any- more' doesn't get a lot of sympathy from me. I think people need to pay their fair share and if you're paying into a system that says, 'It's no fault and you can't sue me for having made you be exposed to this,' then you need to pay your fair rate to make it cover…. ere's no data that shows it's monstrous numbers that we're looking at, and it's the fair and right thing for us to do." It's true the number of first responders claiming PTSD has not been significant in Alberta or Manitoba, said Gardner. "Probably we could live with that and we could take some comfort from the experience of Alberta but we've got absolutely no idea here, we've got a naggingly persistent provincial deficit and a number of employers who are just getting by." For HR, there are no positives with the potential new legislation, he said. "ey're going to be faced with the possibility of very expensive claims which will impact on their claims experience which, in turn, impacts on their premiums, with a much more difficult challenge in terms of how to challenge a questionable claim," said Gard- ner, because of the presumption the PTSD is work-related. "Employers will now have to establish that it is not. e onus of proof is switched to the party that is least able to bear it, be- cause it is the worker who has the information." MANITOBA < pg. 1 Credit: Chris Wattie (Reuters) Employer groups wary of changes Jenifer Migneault embraces her husband Claude Rainville, a Canadian Forces veteran who was diagnosed with PTSD, after she tried to speak to Canada's Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino following his testimony at the Commons veterans affairs committee in Ottawa in May 2014. "PTSD is a very difficult thing to diagnose because it can have such a long latency period and there are contributing factors."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian HR Reporter - July 13, 2015