Supporting Ontario’s First Responders
First responders put their lives at risk each and every day to keep all of us safe, and it’s important we provide our first responders the same unconditional support they provide to us when we need them. Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Hon. Kevin Flynn, committed Ontario to becoming a leader in dealing with first-responder PTSD. He brought forward a plan that addressed prevention of and resiliency to PTSD, as well as legislation that makes PTSD a workplace presumption for first responders. We know the solution lies with a comprehensive approach which includes both preventative and legislative measures. The Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act, 2016 received Royal Assent on April 6, 2016, and is a key component of that comprehensive strategy. The act provides a presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosed in first responders is work-related, allowing for faster access to WSIB benefits, resources and timely treatment needed to heal and return to work safely. The act also amends the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Act to allow the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development to collect information about an employer’s plans to prevent PTSD and authorizes the Minister to publish those plans.