EDMONTON – As Alberta marks the third annual Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day, the province’s largest union is renewing calls to expand presumptive coverage to other workers at risk.
“PTSD Awareness Day reminds us that many Albertans are exposed to stressful and traumatic conditions as a result of their employment. While marking the occasion can help remove the stigma around this disorder, too many workers are still suffering in silence,” said Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) vice-president James Hart, who chairs the union’s occupational health and safety committee.
Hart called on the Alberta government to use this occasion to revisit Workers’ Compensation Board coverage for PTSD.
“Supporting the health of public sector workers helps to ensure those workers are able to continue delivering the services Albertans count on,” he said.
Currently in Alberta presumptive coverage for PTSD is extended to first responders and correctional peace officers, meaning if they are diagnosed with the disorder they will qualify for Workers’ Compensation Board coverage. A 2018 Canadian Journal of Psychiatry study found that public safety workers such as correctional officers and paramedics are four times more likely to develop PTSD.
“We were proud when Alberta became the first province in 2012 to introduce presumptive coverage for this debilitating disorder and were pleased to see that coverage extended this year to correctional peace officers, who often work in very tough conditions,” Hart said.
“And we know there are still other professions in this province that involve a high risk of exposure to trauma, including Alberta’s social workers and front-line health workers, such as emergency room staff. It’s time to extend presumptive coverage to these workers too, many of whom are struggling with the mental health effects of their very difficult, but important, work.”
AUPE represents more than 93,000 members across Alberta.
For more information:
Mariam Ibrahim, AUPE Communications Officer: 780-930-5218