Ontario to extend PTSD presumption to include special constables
Ontario is proposing to extend the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) presumption to include special constables and civilian members of police services in Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) and forensic units. This would expedite access to benefits, resources and timely treatment, the government said.
“Many civilian members of law enforcement, including special constables, work side by side with sworn members and are exposed to the same traumatic stressors on a regular basis,” said Rob Jamieson, president and CEO, OPP Association. “We are pleased that the Government of Ontario recognizes this and will afford these members of law enforcement the benefit of the presumption contained within the Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act.”
If a worker covered under the proposed presumption is diagnosed with PTSD by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the worker’s WSIB claim would be presumed to be work-related. This would allow the worker to receive faster access to compensation and proper treatment, ultimately supporting positive recovery outcomes, the province stated.
The PTSD presumption currently covers first responders including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and others.
“Ontario’s police services receive essential support from our civilian members, including special constables, communicators, call takers, forensics technicians and ViCLAS analysts,” said Bruce Chapman, president of the Police Association of Ontario. “The civilian members of our police services work diligently to support our sworn officers. While on the job, they witness tragedies and experience trauma, just as other first responders do, and deserve the same treatment and care available to sworn officers, so this next step in additional presumptive coverage is most welcome.”
(PTSD involves clinically significant distress and impairment to functioning, and the development of certain types of symptoms following exposure to one or more traumatic events. It can include painful flashbacks, nightmares, outbursts, thoughts of suicide and feelings of worry, guilt or sadness.)