The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh, Minister of Service NL:
Change in Mental Stress Policy Benefits Workers in Province
Mr. Speaker, work-related mental stress conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are impacting workplaces across Canada, including here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Late last fall, I met with stakeholders to seek input on the prevention of, and compensation for, work-related mental stress issues.
A review of WorkplaceNL’s mental stress policy was initiated in order to explore options to modernize the approach to work-related mental stress issues, including PTSD. As a result, WorkplaceNL has modernized its mental stress policy to recognize that work-related mental stress issues may be caused by exposure to multiple traumatic events. The policy now includes events that are an inherent part of an occupation such as first responders witnessing fatalities.
Under the updated policy, workers diagnosed with a specific mental stress issue, including PTSD, will be assessed to determine if they qualify for benefits under the workers’ compensation system. The revisions allow the policy to be applied more fairly across all occupations, including first responders.
Mr. Speaker, a longer-term review of PTSD coverage in workers’ compensation legislation is also ongoing. This review is expected to inform possible changes for work-related mental stress injuries which is in keeping with our government’s focus on improvements in all programs and services.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.