PTSD Legislation for First Responders

Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) impacts many individuals in stressful occupations. Ontario recently passed legislation that permits victims of post-traumatic stress disorder to obtain coverage under the Workplace Safety Insurance Act (WSIA). However, not everyone will receive coverage under this new legislation.

Who is covered?

The new legislation will cover:

  1. Police officersff
  2. Firefighters
  3. Paramedics
  4. Workers in Correctional Institutions
  5. First Nation emergency response teams
  6. Emergency medical attendants 7. Dispatch workers
  7. Ambulance service managers

When individuals belonging to these groups apply for PSTD insurance, it will be assumed to be for work-related reasons. These individuals are often exposed to high-stress and traumatizing experiences including: death, violence and emotionally draining situations. Exposure to high-stress circumstances can result in first responders suffering from anxiety disorders, substance abuse issues, suicidal thoughts and homelessness. Prior to this legislation, workers were required to prove that their stress was related to work; thus the onus was on the workers to prove that they are entitled to be insured. The government has extended this service to 73,000 first responders.

Doctors advice online

Who is excluded?

Nurses are not eligible for PTSD insurance under the WSIA. Many nurses expressed their outrage and frustration publicly. Nurses argued that they are also exposed to traumatizing situations that can be detrimental to their health. Some doctors have supported this claim and urged that the legislation be changed sooner rather than later as a postponed treatment for PTSD can have harmful effects on individuals.

Conversely, others believe that nurses are not subjected to the same level of stress and traumatizing experiences as firefighters, police officers and others covered under the act and thus should not be covered under the act. Individuals argue that nurses are not routinely exposed to such environments or circumstances where they are in a constant state of life or death for themselves or their patients.

What are your thoughts?

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Points of Discussion:

1. Do you believe nurses should be covered under the WSIA?
2. Does your country provide similar services for first responders?

 

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