The Provincial Stance on PTSD in the Workplace

The Provincial Stance on PTSD in the Workplace

Soldiers and first responders are not the only people who experience traumatic events in the workplace. More and more provinces are beginning to recognize that post-traumatic stress disorder can result from adverse conditions in a number of different jobs and are passing legislation that offers unique protections to affected employees.

Unfortunately, the strength of such benefits can vary depending on the province and the profession, with much of the support being directed to first responders. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Firefighters, paramedics and police officers often enter dangerous situations and witness the aftermath of violent and traumatic events. The stresses of those jobs have been linked to PTSD, which is why Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick have passed laws that assume that the PTSD is job-related if the patient is a first responder.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan take these laws one step further, extending those protections to all employees, regardless of profession. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that doing so is in the best interests of public health. A recent study from the University of Calgary found that people working in homeless shelters had higher rates of PTSD (23 percent) than first responders like firefighters and paramedics (10 to 14 percent).

The specific causes of PTSD are likely to change depending on the industry. Working in a homeless shelter can be highly unpredictable, especially since frontline workers have been shouldering much of the burden for the opioid crisis. Many have had to learn how to deal with overdoses, finding themselves thrust into a first responder position with insufficient training and financial support. That causes burnout and other PTSD symptoms, rendering people unable to perform the work for which they were hired.

Of course, PTSD is a legitimate mental illness that entitles you to short and long-term disability benefits. Some claims are just likely to face more resistance than others. Laws like those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan treat PTSD as a workplace injury, which shifts the burden of proof away from the employee and makes it much easier to get a PTSD claim recognized as long as there’s a diagnosis from a trained medical professional.

PTSD is an invisible disability. That’s why a formal diagnosis and an established medical record are important for long-term disability claims related to mental health. The key takeaway is that that remains true regardless of your profession and that the stresses of any job can contribute to the condition. Even if you’re a dishwasher, PTSD can keep you away from work, and that will only exacerbate the condition if it prevents you from getting help.  

That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to talk to a lawyer if your insurance company tries to deny your PTSD claim. The modern workplace is becoming more stressful than ever, and you’re entitled to take the time you need to focus on your mental health.

Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Standard Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and much more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.