Health care and community social service workers are often on the front lines of high stress, traumatic events and violence.
Vancouver (14 Aug. 2019) — Members of the Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSABC/NUPGE) are calling on the government of British Columbia to expand presumptive coverage to community social service and health care workers.
What is presumptive coverage?
Presumptive coverage means that if a worker is diagnosed by a medical professional as having an injury, unless the contrary is proven, that injury is presumed to be the result of an event at the workplace. This removes the onus on the worker to prove that it was the result of some specific work-related event.
Once the injury is diagnosed, the claims process to be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits will be expedited, without the need to prove a causal link between the injury and a workplace event. In other words, the worker will be able to get assistance without providing proof that the injury was related to their work.
When presumptive coverage applies to mental injury, it means that the diagnosed mental or psychological injuries are assumed to be the result of workplace trauma. Under such legislation, once a worker is diagnosed by either a psychiatrist or a psychologist as having a mental disorder covered by the legislation (such as PTSD), unless the contrary is proven, the worker is given the benefit of the doubt. The mental injury is then presumed to stem from, arise out of, or to have occurred during the course of an event at work. This means that when workers who experience job-related trauma are diagnosed with a mental disorder, they will be able to get assistance without providing proof that the injury was related to their work.
Call for legislative change
HSABC/NUPGE applauds the BC government’s decision to grant presumptive coverage to some sectors of workers in BC, including first responders, dispatchers and nurses. What this means is that when these workers receive a diagnosis of PTSD or of another mental injury, they will be able to access assistance without having to prove it was a workplace-related injury. This will reduce stress for workers, encourage them to get help when they need it, and remove onerous bureaucratic steps.
But this legislation can be improved: all health care and community social service professionals should be covered.
The province of British Columbia is currently facing a severe shortage of health care and community social service professionals. We need to ensure that workers filling these critical roles are protected and supported, which includes reducing the barriers to accessing assistance upon receiving a diagnosis of a mental health disorder.
Participate in the campaign: download advocacy posters, personal stories, and fact sheet
Health care and community social service workers often work in high-stress environments and on the front lines of traumatic events and violent experiences. It is their job to care for others in times of crisis, and to put their patients first. You can read 3 personal stories of our members here. These stories speak to the pride care providers have in their work, the expertise they provide, and the toll their work takes. These stories comprise 2 advocacy posters developed by HSA. If you would you like to help HSABC/NUPGE promote this campaign, you can download the advocacy posters:
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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