Canada: Paramedic Who Had His Mother Die In His Arms Denied Workers' Compensation

Last Updated: July 24 2017
Article by Katelyn Bell

It is common practice for Paramedics to arrive for their shifts up to a half an hour prior to their scheduled start time. This is done in an effort to prevent the crew they are relieving from possibly working overtime hours, which would be the case if a call were to come in within the last moments of their shift.

When Paramedics arrive at the station, they check their vehicles and equipment at the start of their shirt. Equipment preparation includes, amongst numerous other things, checking the radios. Often times, emergency calls may come in during this time, and when this happens, first responders who are not "technically" on the clock will respond to the call.

One Paramedic, Mr. Mireault, did exactly that. Mireault is a Paramedic in Rawdon, Quebec and when he was preparing his equipment before the start of his shift, a call came in for a cardiac arrest. And the address? Mireault's mother's home.

Mireault and his partner made the decision to respond to the call several minutes before their shift was scheduled to begin, because they were the closest to the scene. The two workers left the garage at 8:00:13, having been only officially "on the clock" for 13 seconds.

When Mireault arrived at the scene, his mother passed away in his arms. As a result of this happening, Mireault has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mireault has taken a leave of absence from work as a result of his PTSD. Mireault submitted a claim for compensation while on leave to the Quebec workplace health and safety board (CNESST), and his claim was denied. Reason being, Mireault wasn't technically on the clock when he responded to the call over the radio.

For the CNESST to compensate a worker for paid leave, the workplace incident must have happened during a work shift, and it must also be unexpected and sudden. Arguably, the "incident" – that is, the death of Mireault's mother – did happen during a work shift, and unquestionably, her death was unexpected and sudden. So why won't CNESST honor the compensation request?

According to Daniel Chouinard, president of the Fédération des employés du préhospitalier du Québec, which represents ambulance workers in the Province, the CNESST often refuses claims involving paramedics and PTSD because the pretext is that it is part of their jobs.

The denial of Mireault's claim is unquestionably upsetting and actually quite worrisome. After becoming aware of this story, many Canadians, most notably, first responders, may be asking the question, "Could this happen in Ontario?"

In Ontario, there is specific law surrounding PTSD and First Responders. Bill 163, Supporting Ontario's First Responders Act, came into force in April, 2016.

Section 14(3) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act reads "...a worker is entitled to benefits under the insurance plan for posttraumatic stress disorder arising out of and in the course of the worker's employment..."

The legislation creates a presumption that PTSD diagnosed in first responders is work-related. Therefore, an employee doesn't necessarily have to be "on the clock" in order to be entitled to WSIB benefits.

Once a first responder is diagnosed with PTSD by either a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the claims process to be eligible for WSIB benefits is expedited, and there is no need for the first responder to prove a causal link between PTSD and a workplace event.

For employers of first responders, Bill 163 has significant consequences in terms of both the additional costs arising from expanded benefit entitlements, and the onus of rebutting the statutory presumption of entitlement, if the PTSD is not work-related. In some cases, this may be an heavy onus for employers to meet, especially when one considers the statistics: first responders are at least twice as likely as members of the general population to suffer from PTSD.

Ultimately, the legislation in Ontario provides far more protection to first responders than does the legislation in Quebec.

But would Bill 163 protect a worker such as Mireault, who responded to a call before he was on the clock? Is an individual considered to be working "in the course of employment" when setting up equipment, even before their scheduled shift?

In one decision heard at the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, the panel rationed that when performing an action related to one's work, they are working in the course and scope of their employment:

"The general rule in cases of travelling to and from work is that injuries sustained by an employee travelling to or from work off the premises of the employer are considered to have arisen outside the course of employment. Those cases in which travel to or from work is considered to be within the course of employment are exceptions to the general rule. The guiding principal in deciding whether a case presents facts which justify departure from the general rule is whether, due to the factual circumstances of the case, the worker has essentially entered the sphere of employment."

Where the worker is using equipment or material supplied by the employer but receives no benefit beyond the use of the employer-owned equipment, (i.e. pay), and when there is evidence that there is no requirement for the employer to provide such equipment or transportation, no obligation on the worker to use it and no remuneration such as wage or salary for travel time, the only possible criterion that could place the worker in the course and scope of employment would be the use of the equipment itself.

Whether or not the employer is exercising control over the worker, and/or whether the worker is performing any work for the employer at the time of injury, are additional factors that the Tribunal must consider when determining whether or not the worker was "in the course of employment."

Based on the above line of reasoning, because Mireault was using equipment supplied by the employer (the radio) at the time he responded to the call, it is likely that he would receive WSIB benefits.

However, if the Board finds that an employee is entitled to benefits under the insurance plan for PTSD, the employer has the opportunity to appeal the decision. If the employer were to be successful, then compensation on leave would not be provided to the employee.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.