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. “We need to be sure they have the resources and treatment they need to heal and return to work safely,” Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said. 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. This legislation was unanimously passed with all-party agreement.