First responders who develop or have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will automatically be covered by the WISB under a Liberal government proposal announced today.
Labour minister Kevin Flynn tabled a bill in the Ontario legislature that eliminates the requirement of first responders to prove their PTSD was caused by work.
“We are going to create a presumption that PTSD that is diagnosed in first responders is a result of the worker’s employment,” Flynn said in a press conference.
“The claims to the WISB then will be automatically approved without that process.”
The proposed presumption would include firefighters, police officers, paramedics, workers in correctional institutions, dispatchers and First Nations emergency response teams.
$50 million price tag
In an interview, Flynn explained that this coverage would cost to the provincial government about $50 million in the first two years because it would cover all the first responders in Ontario who have developed PTSD, regardless if they were diagnosed before this bill was presented.
“That will be the first year or two, and after that, the cost comes down pretty significantly to about $10 million dollars a year,” he said.
For this proposal to become a reality it needs to get the three readings required, and be approved by the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Flynn hopes his proposal will be approved.
Flynn calls for bipartisan support
“I think usually on an issue like this a lot of the partisanship slips away a little bit and people try to do the right thing, so I’ve asked the opposition parties for very quick passing this bill,” he said.
First responders have been lobbying for years to have PTSD automatically covered as a work-related illness.
First responders are twice likely to develop this trauma than the rest of Canadians.