HALIFAX, Nov. 10, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Members of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) and members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) gather today at Province House to raise awareness about the first responders' profession and the incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in this particular occupational group. They are calling upon the provincial and federal governments to adopt a presumption for PTSD for first responders, as recommended by a report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, published in October.
As workers' compensation laws vary across Canada, more and more public safety officers are asking for a national plan on Operational Stress Injuries (OSI). Since 2012, four provinces have amended their legislation to establish the presumption that PTSD is a workplace injury among first responders, removing the burden to prove a connection between the worker's diagnosis and their job. « We, as correctional officers, are exposed to traumatic situations on a day-to-day basis. It has been established that more than 25% of us are suffering from PTSD. We shouldn't have to fight for the recognition of mental health issues related to our work », stated Jeff Wilkins, UCCO-SACC-CSN Atlantic Regional President.
In Nova Scotia, a first piece of legislation allowing emergency responders to be automatically covered by workers' compensation was introduced in October 2014 by MLA David Wilson. The government did not allow the Bill to proceed and so it died on the order paper. The legislation was reintroduced, again by MLA Wilson, on October 14, 2016. « This time, the Bill must pass. It is unacceptable that the very same people that put their lives on the line to protect us, can't receive the care they need, when they need it » added Jason MacLean, NSGEU President.
UCCO-SACC-CSN and NSGEU demand the support of all Members of the Legislative Assembly on this important issue that could change the life of thousands of correctional officers and other first responders. « The bottom line is : Public safety officers' rights should be the same, coast to coast », concluded Mr. Wilkins.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) has over 7400 members in five major regions of Canada: British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic. UCCO-SACC-CSN represents the job titles of CX1 and CX2 in 49 federal institutions.
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) represents over 450 correctional officers as well as thousands of other first responders in Nova Scotia including : nurses, health care workers, social workers, child protection workers, police officers, and more.
For further information: Olivia Tynes, Atlantic Regional Vice-President (UCCO-SACC-CSN), 902 890-1916; Deedee Slye, Communications Officer - NSGEU, [email protected], 902-497-6761