Manitoba first in country to offer PTSD coverage to all workers

Changes would make coverage accessible to all workers under the Workers Compensation Act.

photo of Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President and Manitoba Premier Greg SelingerWinnipeg (10 June 2015) — The Manitoba government is introducing amendments to the Workers Compensation Act that would recognize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a work-related occupational disease.

MGEU/NUPGE pleased to see government including PTSD as a work-related occupational disease

Premier Greg Selinger announced the amendments today on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature. Under the new law, the Workers Compensation Board would presume a workers’ condition was caused by the job, making it much easier to access supports, treatment and compensation for PTSD.

“We represent a broad cross section of workers in different occupations and as such we have learned that psychological injuries can happen to absolutely anyone regardless of what they do for a living,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE). 

“I believe we were the first organization to bring this idea forward on behalf of our members and I’m very glad, at the end of the day, to be able to stand here with all the partners and recognize all workers, regardless of what uniform they wear or what job they do.”

Changes to WCB will ensure workers have access to compensation and support services

The amendments would extend coverage and benefits to all workers eligible under WCB who are diagnosed with PTSD by a medical professional. This would ensure timely access to compensation and support services, with the long-term goal of reducing the stigma attached to mental illness.

“These changes promise to ease the adjudication process for workers that are already dealing with a significant mental health issue, and help them get the treatment they need more quickly. And that really should be the goal: providing treatment as quickly as we can to get people into a position to cope with their challenges,” said Gawronsky.

The proposed changes were inspired by the work of several key labour groups, including the MGEU/NUPGE, who were instrumental during the consultation process and essential in how the legislation was conceived and drafted. All involved led the charge with public campaigns, recognizing the affects workplace trauma can have on their members.

No surprise that Manitoba is the first province to introduce this legislation

“PTSD is a real threat to working people.  Any improvements in their access to support is welcome news,” said Kevin Rebeck, president, Manitoba Federation of Labour.  “It comes as no surprise to me that Manitoba is the first jurisdiction to put this level of protection into legislation.”

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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