Emergency responders with PTSD deserve action not excuses from McNeil government

January 6, 2016

It’s time the McNeil government stop making excuses and start taking action to provide support to emergency responders dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), says NDP Labour and Advanced Education critic Dave Wilson.

In the fall of 2014, the NDP introduced legislation to provide automatic or presumptive Workers Compensation Board (WCB) coverage to emergency responders diagnosed with PTSD. The Liberal government refused to pass the bill and instead Health Minister Leo Glavine promised to create an all-party committee to study the issue. Since then Wilson has heard very little from the government, Leo Glavine did not deliver on his promise to create a panel, and the file is now in the hands of Labour Minister Kelly Regan.

“Right now there are paramedics, nurses, police officers and other emergency responders struggling with PTSD who can’t get the help they need because they don’t have presumptive PTSD coverage,” says Wilson. “Those individuals deserve better and they can’t afford to wait another year and a half while Minister Regan and Minister Glavine make excuses.”

Wilson adds, “Emergency responders deserve answers. It’s time this government comes clean and tells emergency responders if, and when, it will provide automatic WCB coverage for PTSD.”

Vince Savoia, the Executive Director of Tema, is also calling on the government to provide presumptive PTSD coverage for first responders. Tema Conter Memorial Trust provides post-traumatic stress disorder research, education, training, and psychological support to first responders with the aim of helping these men and women when they need it most.

“There were 39 confirmed suicides by first responders in Canada in 2015, and another 27 in 2014. What the Nova Scotia NDP’s presumptive legislation will do for the first responders is allow them to get treatment they need sooner rather than later,” says Savoia.

On January 1st of this year, Manitoba joined Alberta in providing presumptive coverage for emergency responders diagnosed with PTSD.