Saskatchewan NDP bill calls for presumptive WCB coverage for PTSD

An upcoming bill from the Saskatchewan NDP offers financial and emotional relief for workers who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to an incident on the job.

The New Democrats are expected to introduce the bill Thursday, which calls for presumed coverage from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) for anyone with work-related PTSD, regardless of his or her profession.

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    Jennifer Chouinard was diagnosed with PTSD resulting from her career as a social worker.

    “It was a lot of exposure to a lot of tough things,” Chouinard said.

    As a result, she created a PTSD support group, which has evolved into the PTSD Saskatchewan Support Initiative.

    READ MORE: New PTSD group in Regina hopes to provide support for trauma sufferers

    Even with a doctor’s diagnosis, it’s currently standard procedure in Saskatchewan for the WCB to examine the background of people applying for coverage.

    “They can talk to your co-workers. They can talk to your managers, your employers. They can do audits. For me personally, that was one thing that I didn’t want,” Chouinard said.

    If the bill becomes legislation, a doctor’s diagnosis would be the only requirement for a worker to receive WCB coverage.

    READ MORE: Ontario passes legislation on PTSD treatment for first responders

    The bill still needs to be introduced and could be amended or rejected.

    “Right now, people have to jump through hoop after hoop to prove that the traumatic event or events caused the PTSD, which delays diagnosis and ultimately delays treatment,” said NDP health critic Danielle Chartier.

    READ MORE: Manitoba to see PTSD as a work-related disease in the New Year

    The bill wouldn’t be a first. Manitoba’s presumptive work-related PTSD coverage began in January. Alberta introduced it in 2012, but only for first responders.

    “It’s many first responders with whom I’ve been working with to get signatures who have actually highlighted the need for all workers to be covered,” Chartier said.

    Both Chouinard and the NDP issued petitions calling for presumptive PTSD coverage in Saskatchewan.

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