Amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act,
The core purpose of the Bill is to
create presumptive entitlement to workplace safety and insurance
benefits for first responders who develop post-traumatic stress
disorder. The condition must be diagnosed in accordance with
the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(DSM V or DSM IV) diagnostic criteria by a psychologist or
psychiatrist. The presumption can be rebutted with contrary
The Bill will apply to the
following first responders:
Full-time, part-time and volunteer
Fire and police dispatchers
Members of a First Nations
emergency response team
Emergency medical attendants (as
defined under the Ambulance Act, which does
not include a physician, nurse or other health
care provider who attends on a call for an ambulance)
Workers in a correctional institution, a
place of secure custody, or a place of secure temporary
detention.These workers are defined in the Bill as:
correctional services officers and
operational managers who are employed to provide direct health care
services to inmates; or
youth services workers and
managers who are employed to provide direct health care services to
young persons in custody or detention.
Of note is that the Bill does not
apply to emergency room health care professionals, such as
physicians and nurses, working in a hospital setting.
A worker will not
be entitled to benefits for post-traumatic stress if the disorder
was caused by his or her employer's decisions or actions
relating to the employment, including a decision to change the work
to be performed or the working conditions, to discipline the worker
or to terminate the worker's employment. This is
consistent with the existing language of subsection 13(5) of the
Amendments to the Ministry of Labour Act
Bill 163 will provide authority to
the Minister of Labour to direct employers of the listed first
responders to provide information relating to the employer's
PTSD prevention plans. The information provided may be
published by the Minister, and may be used to assess the programs
and prepare a report on such plans.
The employers affected by Bill 163
municipalities who provide fire,
police, and paramedic services;
municipal police services boards,
the Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP;
First Nations employers; and,
provincial and federal
correctional services within the province, youth detention centres
and , and youth services employers in secure detention centres
andtemporary custody centres.
It is not clear whether mental
health facilities that provide health care services to detained
persons would also be covered by Bill 163.
Many of the employers who will be
affected by the Bill are likely to be Schedule 2 employers.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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