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Ontario to Introduce Legislation to Support First Responders with PTSD

New Law Would Help Expedite Identification, Intervention and Treatment

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Today Ontario intends to introduce 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.

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:

 

  • Once diagnosed with PTSD, expediting the claims process to be eligible for WSIB benefits
  • 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.

Quick Facts

  • 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.


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