Presumptive Injury and the Frontline
WORKPLACE INJURIES & MENTAL HEALTH
There is a growing recognition that workplaces can be a direct cause of post traumatic stress injuries (PTSI).
It is generally harder to prove that a mental illness is a result of a workplace injury, because there are so many factors involved. For example, a high-stress environment may contribute to an episode of mental illness, but it’s not easy to demonstrate the connection.
Burnout, unmanageable workloads, lack of support and resources, and harassment, among other things, can all contribute to mental health challenges and eventual illness.
Certain occupations, such as first responders, parole officers and RCMP support workers, face further risk of exposure to potentially psychologically traumatic events (PPTEs) during the course of their duties.
WHAT IS PRESUMPTIVE INJURY?
Presumptive injury refers to an injury that is presumed to have resulted from a situation at a workplace or conditions of work.
Certain frontline employees, such as first responders, are presumed to be vulnerable to post traumatic stress injuries (PTSI), and when such injuries are diagnosed by a qualified professional, their eligibility for Workers’ Compensation is undeniable.
In other words, if you are in a certain occupation and suffer a certain type of occupational injury, it is presumed that the injury was because of the conditions of work. You don’t have to prove it.
However, there are many employees that may be exposed to workplace trauma who are not included in presumptive injury definitions. These include people who work in the federal correctional system, and employees who provide crucial services to the RCMP.
The Union of Safety and Justice Employees (USJE), which represents nearly 18,000 federal employees who work in public safety and justice, is seeking to change workers’ compensation legislation in Canada—so that ALL trauma-injured workers have access to the compensation they need and deserve.