Statement in Support of PTSD Presumptive Legislation

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June 17, 2015


We represent all Active and Retired Firefighters and Paramedics of the International Association of Firefighters in Manitoba.

We also want to state that we not only support this legislation but given the comprehensive scope of coverage for many professions in Manitoba we strongly urge that the appropriate resources be made available to ensure the success of this legislation once passed.  This legislation will need extensive resource allocation.

We are writing this letter to give strong support to Bill 35, The Workers Compensation Amendment Act (Presumption for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Bill 35 will greatly improve the availability of treatment for fire fighters and others who are working in professions susceptible to PTSD such as paramedics, nurses and police.

When Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is covered by Presumptive Legislation it will allow those diagnosed with PTSD to get the help they need more quickly and also to return to work sooner.   Proper treatment will be made available, the stigma of admitting to mental illness will be reduced and stress caused by having to lobby WCB for necessary funding for treatment, or for coverage for time needed away from the job will be reduced.

As fire fighters we know that Bill 35 is an important step towards appropriate coverage for occupational diseases related to firefighting.   Presumptive coverage of PTSD will help us move forward.

For the last twenty years I have worked passionately to ensure that occupational diseases have an appropriate level of WCB coverage. I have worked in many jurisdictions in Canada, the United States and around the world, informing Union leaders and politicians about the need for presumptive legislation and educating them about the studies and the science that proves the link between occupational disease and firefighting.  This science now includes demonstrating a connection between firefighting and PTSD.

Again we would like to say how glad we are to see Bill 35 passed through the first reading. We will be even happier to see Bill 35 finalized.