Coverage for PTSD for first-responders long overdue

April 28, 2017

For immediate release.

HALIFAX – NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson says that legislation tabled today by the government to provide presumptive coverage for first-responders who experience post-traumatic stress disorder is an important step, but could have come a lot sooner.

“As a former paramedic, I have seen first-hand the impact that PTSD can have on first-responders in our health and justice systems,” said Wilson. “I believe it is our duty to protect the people that protect us, whether it be health care workers or paramedics or other first responders in our province.”

Wilson introduced a similar bill in the fall of 2014, but the bill was not supported then by the Liberal government. The NDP’s bill received broad support from first responders and mental health organizations throughout the province.

“When I introduced this bill in 2014, I was told by government that they would create an all-party committee and do wide consultations. This did not happen,” said Wilson. “All along the way I was told this legislation was unnecessary. Now on the eve of an election, the Liberals are introducing a bill with no plans to pass it. Why has this taken so long?”

According to the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, an organization that supports public safety and military workers experiencing mental health injures, 181 Canadian public safety and military personnel have died by suicide. On average, 24 per cent to 26 per cent of corrections officers have PTSD and 22 per cent to 24 per cent of paramedics experience PTSD.

“It’s encouraging that the government has finally decided to act on the issue of PTSD amongst first-responders, but this legislation is long overdue,” said Wilson. “We should have had this legislation on the books two and a half years ago. Instead, the Liberals waited until the eve of an election to introduce this needed legislation and won’t give the House the time to pass it.”

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For more information please contact Kaley Kennedy at (902) 229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.