Ontario has introduced legislation that will create a presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosed in first responders is work-related, leading to faster access to resources and treatment.

The province’s strategy was first introduced on Feb. 2 and was approved Thursday.

Read: Ontario to introduce employer resources to prevent PTSD among first responders

The Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), 2016 aims to allow faster access to WSIB benefits and timely treatment, ultimately supporting positive recovery outcomes by:

  • Expediting the claims process for WSIB benefits eligibility, once an employee is diagnosed with PTSD;
  • Removing the need to prove a causal link between PTSD and a workplace event; and
  • Requiring employers to implement PTSD prevention plans within the workplace.

Read: Dealing with PTSD in the workplace

The presumption would apply to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, workers in correctional institutions and secure youth justice facilities, dispatchers of police, firefighter and ambulance services, and First Nations emergency response teams.

This is the next step in the government’s strategy to prevent or mitigate the risk of PTSD and provide first responders with faster access to treatment and the information they need to stay healthy.

“PTSD is a serious and debilitating injury,” said Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn. “With appropriate resources and timely treatment, we know it can be prevented or mitigated. We’re acting to ensure we support effective prevention for Ontario’s first responders.

“We know the solution lies with a comprehensive approach which includes both preventative and legislative measures. I am proud to share the first piece of our strategy to deal with PTSD in our first responders that will seek to address current gaps and build on existing PTSD prevention activities currently underway across Ontario.”

Read: 5 key stats about Canadians’ mental health

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