Province broadens access to mental health services and compensation for first responders

Sheriffs and correctional officers will also benefit from changes to workplace legislation.

First responders, sheriffs, and correctional officers will have greater access to services and compensation for mental disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that can arise from traumatic workplace incidents, as a result of legislative amendments announced recently by provincial Labour Minister Harry Bains.

“These changes are about fairness and support for workers who put their lives on the line to protect British Columbians as part of their jobs,” Bains says.

“First responders, sheriffs, and both provincial and federal correctional officers who experience trauma on the job and are diagnosed with a mental disorder should not have the added stress of having to prove that their disorder is work related in order to receive support and compensation.”

The proposed amendments to the Workers Compensation Act have been introduced in the house. If approved by the legislature, these amendments will add PTSD and other mental disorders to the list of conditions that are recognized as being presumptive conditions associated with specific types of jobs. The list includes conditions that are presumed to have been caused by the nature of the work, rather than conditions that have to be proven to be job-related.

“We are so grateful for the heroic work that first responders do in our communities every day,” says Bains.

“This proposed change ensures that when the people who protect us need support, B.C.’s workers’ compensation system supports them to ensure a full recovery.”

The new mental-disorder presumption will apply to firefighters, police officers, paramedics, sheriffs, and correctional officers.

The BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) is applauding the new legislation.

“First responders work in incredibly traumatic and stressful conditions,” says BCFED president Irene Lanzinger, “and their efforts are crucial to the well-being of our society.

“This new legislation is a compassionate response by government to the frequently gut-wrenching circumstances in which they work and the effect it has on their physical and mental well-being.”

Lanzinger is pleased that the legislation also creates a process for other high-risk occupations—such as nurses and health care professionals, for whom trauma and stress is also part of day-to-day work reality—to be covered by similar standards.

Currently, seven other Canadian jurisdictions—Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Yukon—have legislation around PTSD/mental disorder presumptions for workers’ compensation.

The legislative changes are a first step toward providing more support to workers who are first on the scene at a wide varety of challenging, and sometimes dangerous and traumatic, situations in the course of their occupation.

Government will consider over time expanding similar presumptions to other types of workers who experience traumatic events at work, as well as continuing to focus on overall workplace safety.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ashcroft council receives winter road maintenance update

Council also votes to enter a float in this year’s Santa Parade

Cache Creek council report

Issues at Cache Creek water treatment plant are a big concern

The Rundown: Clinton News

High speed internet in Clinton hits a roadblock, and more from recent Clinton council meeting

Clinton-area author draws on own experiences for her books

Dorothy Jepp grew up on High Bar First Nation and writes the books she wanted to see as a child

Ashcroft business makes the leap to main street location

Gemini Wellness has moved from the Ashcroft HUB to a storefront on Railway Avenue

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

South Cariboo Driver hits four cows due to fog

The RCMP’s investigation is ongoing

B.C. won’t appeal decision protecting ICBC court experts

Change to evidence rules next to save money, David Eby says

1898 Yukon gold rush photo featuring Greta Thunberg look-alike sends internet into tailspin

Jokes erupted this week after a 120-year-old photo taken by Eric A. Hegg surfaced from archives

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Distracted driving tickets not for ICBC revenue, B.C. minister says

Minister Mike Farnworth calls SenseBC analysis ‘nonsense’

Most Read