OPP Association applauds new legislation to support first responders

BARRIE, ON, Feb. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - The OPP Association applauds today's announcement by the Ontario Government that they are moving forward with presumptive legislation to address post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in first responders.

The Supporting Ontario's First Responders Act (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), 2016 creates a presumption that PTSD diagnosed in first-responders is work related. This will lead to faster access to resources, WSIB compensation and proper treatment.

"Uniform officers and civilian police personnel are our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers and protectors of our communities. Above all else, they are human-beings. They often suffer from injuries not easily seen and need help," said Rob Jamieson, President of the OPP Association. "We are pleased that the government is moving forward with legislation to address one of the most important issues facing law enforcement personnel today."

While expressing his support for the new legislation, President Jamieson acknowledged that much work remains in addressing PTSD in first responders.

"The stigma surrounding mental illness continues to be a significant barrier for our members in seeking treatment," Jamieson said. "As members of the law enforcement community, we make a commitment to protect the public, no matter the cost. To reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, we must re-commit ourselves to supporting our fellow members, with the same passion and vigilance used in serving the communities we police."

The OPP Association is committed to working with the Ontario Government to further enhance the treatments and resources available to first responders who suffer with PTSD, as well as the implementation of the "PTSD Strategy for First Responders," recently announced by the Ministry of Labour.

About the Ontario Provincial Police Association

Headquartered in Barrie, the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) is the bargaining agent for almost 10,000 civilian and uniform members of the Ontario Provincial Police.

While our members are looking out for our communities, the Association is looking out for them. As their sole bargaining agent, we represent members' interests in negotiations with the employer (the Ontario government). However, an equally important task is the promotion of healthy, safe work environments. We advocate for better tools and equipment, improved health and safety standards, and better supports for members suffering operational stress injuries, among other issues of concern. These improvements help keep our members -- and our communities -- productive and safe.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police Association

For further information: Josh Jutras, Strategic Communications Coordinator, OPP Association, 800-461-4282, jjutras@oppa.ca

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