Ontario Passes Legislation to Support First Responders with PTSD
New Law will Allow Faster Access to Benefits and Timely Treatment
Today Ontario passed legislation that will create a presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosed in first responders is work-related.
Under the Supporting Ontario's First Responders Act, the presumption allows for faster access to WSIB benefits, resources and timely treatment. Once a first responder is diagnosed with PTSD by either a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the claims process to be eligible for WSIB benefits will be expedited, without the need to prove a causal link between PTSD and a workplace event.
The presumption applies to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, certain workers in correctional institutions and secure youth justice facilities, dispatchers of police, firefighter and ambulance services, and emergency response teams.
The act also allows the Minister of Labour to request and publish PTSD prevention plans from employers of workers who are covered by the presumption.
This act is part of the province'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.
- Evidence shows that first responders are at least twice as likely compared to the general population to suffer from PTSD, due to the risk of frequent exposure to traumatic stressors.
- The legislation applies 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.
“We know PTSD is a serious and debilitating injury and that Ontario’s dedicated first responders are more than twice as likely to suffer from it. They put themselves in harm’s way each and every day to ensure our safety, and we need to be sure they have the resources and treatment they need to heal and return to work safely. Coupled with the prevention and resiliency training the province is putting in place, this Act is an important step forward in recognizing the importance of psychological health in the workplace, and it will provide first responders and their families with peace of mind.”
“Ontario’s first responders are always there when we need them and it’s only right that we do the same for them. That is what our government's comprehensive approach to PTSD is all about - preventing, diagnosing, and supporting the recovery of those who keep our communities safe every day. We have seen the devastating impact PTSD can have on those who keep us safe - such as our police officers, firefighters, dispatchers, and correctional officers and other frontline staff in our correctional institutions. The Supporting Ontario's First Responders Act is part of a comprehensive approach to ensure our first responders have the proper supports in place to improve outcomes for themselves and the people they serve.”