Presumptive injury legislation varies from province to province in Canada, and in many jurisdictions it applies only to certain groups of employees, such as firefighters, paramedics, police and other emergency responders.
In the last five years, six provinces have passed legislation that makes a direct link between certain psychological disorders and workplace trauma. Under most of these laws, some workers diagnosed with occupational stress injuries will be able to claim workers’ compensation benefits without having to prove that their illness was caused by their workplace.
Only in Manitoba & Saskatchewan are all workers covered by this legislation, in the rest of the provinces only some first responders are covered.
Most Canadian federal employees are governed by the Government Employees Compensation Act (GECA), which downloads responsibility for compensation onto the provinces and territories.
The Government Employees Compensation Act can serve to be a limiting factor in how federal public service employees can access workers' compensation in the province and territory in which they live.
This means that two workers doing the exact same job in two different provinces or territories may have completely different coverage, or none at all, for the same work-related diagnosis.
USJE is asking the federal government to ensure there is proactive, inclusive legislation that recognizes the difficult work undertaken by thousands of federal public service employees working under the auspices of Public Safety, Justice and the Attorney General.
One solution would be to develop a new compensation framework for federal employees that provides the same equitable and inclusive coverage no matter where the employee works in Canada.
Another possible solution might be to modify the definitions in GECA so that provinces and territories will be required to include ALL federal employees under presumptive injury legislation.
Until all provinces and territories have harmonious presumptive injury legislation, employees will continue to fall between the cracks.