Sault Ste. Marie – Today, Ontario introduced legislation that would create a presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosed in first responders is work-related, leading to faster access to resources and treatment announced David Orazietti MPP.
“Our government recognizes the vital role that first responders play every day in protecting our communities,” said Orazietti. “This legislation will help ensure first responders who face traumatic experiences have access to the support and care they need.”
If passed, the Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), 2016 would allow faster access to WSIB benefits and timely treatment, ultimately supporting positive recovery outcomes by:
- Expediting the claims process to be eligible for WSIB benefits once a PTSD diagnosis is made
- Removing the need to prove a causal link between PTSD and a workplace event
- Requiring employers to implement PTSD prevention plans within the workplace
The proposed presumption would apply to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, workers in correctional institutions and secure youth justice facilities, dispatchers of police, firefighter and ambulance services, and First Nations emergency response teams.
This is the next step in the government’s strategy to prevent or mitigate the risk of PTSD and provide first responders with faster access to treatment and the information they need to stay healthy.
“Given all that we ask of our first responders, it is only fair that we support them when they need us most,” said Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour. “This legislation will give first responders and those who work in corrections the peace of mind they deserve, and our prevention, resiliency and research initiatives will round out a comprehensive PTSD approach we can all be proud of and that will protect the brave men and women who we entrust with keeping us safe and secure.”
Increasing support for first responders is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- Evidence shows that first responders are at least twice as likely compared to the general population to suffer PTSD, due to the risk of routine exposure to traumatic stressors.
- The proposed legislation would apply to more than 73,000 first responders in Ontario.
On March 5, 2015, Ontario hosted the Summit on Work Related Traumatic Mental Stress.
- The province’s strategy builds on the dialogue and feedback from the Summit.