NDP Push Amendment to Workers Compensation Act
Prince George, B.C. – The Provincial New Democrats have introduced legislation in Victoria aimed at assisting first responders who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The legislation, introduced by the NDP’s labour critic Shane Simpson, would ensure that first responders who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are presumed to have suffered the injury due to their work.
The amendment to the Workers’ Compensation Act would cover police, firefighters, ambulance paramedics, sheriffs, corrections officers and 911 dispatchers.
“We know that first responders suffer from PTSD at a rate that is double that of the general population,” said Simpson. “Sadly, we also know that this too often has led to suicide. In 2016, 63 first responders took their lives in Canada. 19 of those were in British Columbia.
“First responders provide a critical service to all British Columbians. More often than not, they are dealing with traumatic situations, crisis and too often fatalities. This has been exacerbated in recent times by the opioid overdose crisis. These workers face circumstances in their work every day that most of us cannot even imagine. The cumulative impacts on these workers is significant. PTSD is not usually a single incident as it is the buildup over time of facing these very difficult situations.”
The NDP says the current system at WorkSafe BC results in too many PTSD claims being either denied or taking too long for the claimant to receive the help they need. This legislation would make it clear that once a first responder is diagnosed with a PTSD injury they would be deemed to have suffered the situation on the job and will have their claim accepted.
With the Provincial election scheduled to be called April 11th, it is unlikely this legislation will get any traction.