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Providing More Support for Nurses with PTSD

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Providing More Support for Nurses with PTSD

PTSD Presumption Would Help Expedite Treatment, Recovery and Return to Work

Ministry of Labour

Ontario is proposing to increase first responder support to include all front-line nurses who provide direct patient care and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by expediting their access to benefits, resources and timely treatment through the implementation of a presumption that PTSD is work-related. 

Front-line nurses who are first responders face traumatic situations and are more likely to suffer PTSD. With the new proposed presumption, once a front-line nurse is diagnosed with PTSD by either a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the claims process for WSIB benefits will be expedited, and nurses will not be required to prove a causal link between PTSD and a workplace event.

Supporting mental health in the workplace is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • The PTSD presumption currently covers first responders including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and others.
  • PTSD involves clinically significant distress and impairment to functioning, and the development of certain types of symptoms following exposure to one or more traumatic events. It can include painful flashbacks, nightmares, outbursts, thoughts of suicide and feelings of worry, guilt or sadness.
  • The proposed PTSD presumption would affect up to 140,000 nurses in Ontario.

Additional Resources

  • Read the report from the 2016 PTSD Summit: Making Progress on Prevention



“Our government is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the millions of people who work in Ontario. PTSD is a serious and debilitating injury. With appropriate resources and timely treatment, we know it can be prevented or mitigated. It’s imperative we are ready to help those nurses who put their personal health and safety on the line while helping others.”

Kevin Flynn

Minister of Labour

“All nurses who provide direct patient care who suffer from PTSD would have easy access to the benefits they need. Nurses, along with others in first response professions, are often the last people to ask for help as their focus is on the care and well-being of others. It is our responsibility to care for those who selflessly commit their lives and safety to help millions of people across the province.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“During the course of our working lives, nurses witness and experience numerous critical and traumatizing incidents and events. We congratulate the government for acknowledging this reality by proposing to include nurses in the legislative PTSD presumption.”

Linda Haslam-Stroud

RN, President, Ontario Nurses' Association

“We commend the government for recognizing that nurses are first responders and must be included in legislation granting them access to treatment for work-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We know on any given day, RNs, NPs and RPNs face violence and suffer trauma just as police officers and paramedics do. Nurses represent the largest workforce in the province’s health system and we believe this is an important step to recognizing and protecting nurses.”

Dr. Doris Grinspun

Chief Executive officer of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)

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