TORONTO, May 2, 2016 /CNW/ - As Ontario marks First Responders Day 2016, the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) continues to call on the Premier and provincial government to amend Bill 163 to recognize nurses.
ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, says that, "In the legislature today, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services will stand up and pay tribute to the professionals – including nurses – who are first responders. Yet Bill 163, Supporting Ontario's First Responders Act, has omitted these same nurses."
Haslam-Stroud praises Bill 163, passed last month. It provides presumptive coverage for PTSD for first responders under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. However, she notes that while the legislation covers male-dominated professions including firefighters, police and correctional workers, it excludes nurses, a female-dominated profession.
ONA has written to the Premier to call for nurses to be covered under the Act. Haslam-Stroud says nurses deserve action by the government to change this oversight.
"In the course of our working lives, nurses are witness to and experience many critical and traumatizing events," she says. "Health-care workers, including registered nurses, are among the sickest and most injured professionals of all, including firefighters and police. Nurses suffer not just physical injuries in these attacks, they suffer PTSD as well. Yet this government forces nurses to spend up to a decade or more fighting for coverage for PTSD from the WSIB. It's shameful."
Because nurses were excluded from the legislation, ONA will continue to call for their recognition under Bill 163.
ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care, the community, public health, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association