Media Advisory - Post-traumatic stress disorder should be recognized as a workplace illness for emergency response workers

Morneau Shepell supports proposed amendment to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act in Ontario

TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2016 /CNW/ - Bill 2, which is scheduled for debate in Ontario on February 16, 2016, proposes an amendment to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act recognizing that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is to be presumed an occupational disease for emergency response workers. The proposed amendment would follow Alberta and Manitoba's examples and allow Ontario to set the standard for the rest of Canada.

Morneau Shepell, Canada's leading employee and family assistance program (EFAP) provider, believes Bill 2 creates a positive change for firefighters, police officers and paramedics. Currently, emergency response workers are required to prove PTSD is the result of their employment but if the Act is amended, PTSD among emergency response workers will be automatically acknowledged as a result of their employment, unless the contrary is shown.

"The proposed change is a great first step in officially recognizing that serious mental health effects like PTSD can result from the everyday work of emergency response workers," said Stephen Liptrap, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Morneau Shepell. "Providing this support to emergency response workers in Ontario will set a great example for other jurisdictions and for how Ontario can support similar groups, such as social services workers."

Employers are encouraged to keep an open line of communication with employees who have experienced a traumatic event and pay attention to symptoms of this disorder.

"We also need to recognize that family members of frontline workers may need support in dealing with PTSD, as spouses and children are often indirectly affected by a loved one suffering from the effects of a traumatic event," said Noi Quao, Manager, Traumatic Event Support Services, Morneau Shepell. "Employers that offer an EFAP are able to provide employees with a confidential service that may help identify symptoms of PTSD and provide counselling services for those affected."

Stephen Liptrap and Noi Quao are available for interviews on the following:

  • An overview of the proposed amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and what the changes mean for emergency response workers (both employers and employees);
  • The potential effects of exposure to traumatic events on emergency response workers; and,
  • Tips for employers on how to support employees affected by a traumatic event.

About Morneau Shepell Inc.

Morneau Shepell is the only human resources consulting and technology company that takes an integrative approach to employee assistance, health, benefits, and retirement needs. The Company is the leading provider of Employee and Family Assistance Programs, the largest administrator of pension and benefits plans and the largest provider of integrated absence management solutions in Canada. Through health and productivity, administrative, and retirement solutions, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and improve their competitive position.

Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves more than 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With almost 4,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States, and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit morneaushepell.com

SOURCE Morneau Shepell - Corporate

For further information: Heather MacDonald, Kaiser Lachance Communications, 647.725.2520 x207, heather.macdonald@kaiserlachance.com; Nathan Gibson, Morneau Shepell, 416.390.2641, ngibson@morneaushepell.com


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