October 2, 2017
PTSD presumption consultation report released
WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board today released the “What We Heard” report summarizing the results of its public consultation conducted in June.
Yukoners were invited to comment on the Government of Yukon’s plan to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act to introduce a presumption clause for emergency response workers who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“A presumption removes the stigma attached to mental illness so that workers who need support will be more encouraged to seek it,” said Board Chair Mark Pike. “When workers seek treatment early and get the help they need, they are able to avoid experiencing further harm.”
More than 200 Yukon citizens and organizations responded to the consultation. They were informed that firefighters, paramedics and police officers will be included in the PTSD presumption and asked if there are other professions the government should consider adding to the presumption in future.
Among the occupations suggested by respondents for possible future inclusion in the presumption, nurses and social care workers were mentioned most often.
The consultation also asked whether the Government of Yukon should amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to allow for Regulations to be passed aimed at preventing mental injuries at work.
Two-thirds of respondents indicated support.
“It’s encouraging to learn that the public recognizes the importance of supporting workers who are regularly exposed to trauma and develop PTSD as a result,” said President/CEO Kurt Dieckmann. “The value of establishing Regulations aimed at protecting workers by preventing psychological injuries in the workplace was also clearly expressed.
“We’ve delivered our final report to the government. We know that they’ll prepare legislation in the best interests of Yukon workers and employers and we expect to see the fruits of this consultation during the fall sitting.”
The report can be downloaded from the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board website at wcb.yk.ca.