B.C. residents who suffer from post-traumatic stress or are victims of ongoing harassment, violence or bullying in the workplace, will be able to claim workers' compensation under proposed new legislation.

A government bill introduced into the legislature Thursday will broaden coverage for workplace mental stress conditions and help to promote healthy workplaces. Coverage would be extended to those who suffer "an acute reaction to a sudden traumatic event" at work, including repeated traumatic exposure seen by emergency personnel such as firefighters or police officers. It would also cover sexual harassment, violence or bullying in the workplace.

 The expanded coverage is expected to cost an additional $10 million to $18 million a year.  

The procedure for submitting a claim for compensation will be decided later by regulation. It will also require the approval of a doctor or psychiatrist.