Supporting Law Enforcement Workers with PTSD
PTSD Presumption Would Help Expedite Treatment, Recovery and Return to Work
Ontario is proposing to extend the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) presumption to include special constables, and civilian members of police services in Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) and forensic units. This would expedite access to benefits, resources and timely treatment.
Due to the nature of their jobs, these law enforcement workers often face traumatic situations, and are more likely to suffer from PTSD.
If a worker covered under the proposed presumption is diagnosed with PTSD by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the worker's WSIB claim would be presumed to be work-related. This would allow the worker to receive faster access to compensation and proper treatment, ultimately supporting positive recovery outcomes.
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.
- 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.
- Read the report from the 2016 PTSD Summit: Making Progress on Prevention
“PTSD is a serious and debilitating injury. Special constables, and civilian workers in the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis system and forensic units, often find themselves in traumatic situations that may lead to PTSD. We need to be sure they have the resources and treatment they need to heal and return to work safely. Just like first responders, they put their personal health and safety at risk while they are protecting us, and we must step up when they need our help.”
“Exposure to traumatic incidents and materials can have a devastating effect on the mental health of law enforcement workers. Extending presumptive PTSD coverage to those who regularly encounter and experience such things in the course of their duties is an important part of keeping them healthy, as they work to keep us safe.”
“The PAO commends the Ontario government for taking this important step to recognize and protect police support staff and expanded coverage of presumptive legislation. Ontario’s police services receive essential support from our civilian members, including special constables, communicators, call takers, forensics technicians and ViCLAS analysts. The civilian members of our police services work diligently to support our sworn officers. While on the job, they witness tragedies and experience trauma, just as other first responders do, and deserve the same treatment and care available to sworn officers, so this next step in additional presumptive coverage is most welcome.”
“Many civilian members of law enforcement, including Special Constables, work side by side with sworn members and are exposed to the same traumatic stressors on a regular basis. We are pleased that the Government of Ontario recognizes this and will afford these members of law enforcement the benefit of the presumption contained within the Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act.”