Nova Scotia's PTSD regulations step in right direction

"We owe these public servants the same duty of care that we afford to the people they are trying to protect and serve." — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President

Halifax (17 Oct. 2018) — Nova Scotia announced new regulations that will ensure more workers will have easy and immediate access to resources to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Sheriffs no longer have burden of proving PTSD is work-related

"Amending the Workers Compensation Act to ensure more workers are protected against the harms of workplace trauma was the right thing to do," said Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE). "We have taken steps in the right direction, but there is more work to do, as there are many other workers in occupations that are still not included in this legislation."

Amendments to the Workers Compensation Act were made last fall, ensuring continuing-care assistants, correctional officers, emergency-response dispatchers, firefighters, nurses, paramedics and police officers no longer have the burden of proving that a diagnosis of PTSD is work-related. Now, it has been expanded to include sheriffs.

More occupations that encounter trauma need to be added 

"This list should be further broadened to include social workers, probation officers and other professions who may have to deal with horrific situations in their day-to-day work," said MacLean.

For example, social workers and probation officers are subject to many of the same traumatizing experiences that first responders face in the workplace: they are present in courtrooms during trials that deal with very disturbing details; they are often threatened by clients they are dealing with; and they experience trauma alongside the people that are in their care.

"We owe these public servants the same duty of care that we afford to the people they are trying to protect and serve. We hope government will recognize the importance of the role they play, and ensure these workers are also protected by these new regulations," MacLean added.


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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