For years, OPSEU and OPSEU members have been fighting to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recognized as a serious problem in workplace mental health and safety, particularly for frontline workers.
We’re proud to say the pressure is working.
Some frontline workers – including paramedics, correctional workers, probation and parole officers, police, and firefighters – are now eligible for PTSD treatment and support through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
And the Ford government has even declared June 27 as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day.
“We owe it to anyone who’s been injured in a workplace to properly take care of that and get people back to where they want to be,” said Brantford-Brant Conservative MPP Will Bouma, who spearheaded the recognition day.
Added Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott: “PTSD knows no bounds in terms of age, gender, culture or occupation.”
We wholeheartedly agree – PTSD knows no bounds.
Frontline workers in the fields of health care, in education, in social services, and in retail – to name just a few – face increasing levels of violence and conflict that can lead to PTSD.
So we are renewing our longstanding demand that the government immediately expand the number of workers who are eligible for PTSD coverage and support from the WSIB.
Right now, workers with PTSD in only a few fields are “presumed” to have suffered their trauma at work. But for no good reason, workers in health care, social services, education, retail and even some in youth corrections are left to fend for themselves. Tragically, many end up falling through the cracks into poverty and even homelessness.
Bouma and Elliott, it’s time to act on your words.
PTSD can take a terrible and devastating toll on anybody, but it is treatable. How can we not offer treatment to every worker who needs it?
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida