Charlottetown – CUPE PEI Paramedics and First Responders celebrated a hard-earned victory when Bill 102, An Act to Amend the Workers Compensation Act passed third reading on December 12.
The Bill, which got unanimous support of the legislature, provides added support to workers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. “We now have a similar law as Manitoba’s, which recognized PTSD coverage for all, not just for first responders, nurses or corrections officers,” said Jason Woodbury, President of CUPE Local 3324 and Miscouche’s Fire Chief.
The legislation provides presumptive coverage to workers when they apply for compensation. In order to deny a claim, the burden of proof will be on the Workers’ Compensation Board to demonstrate that coverage is not required.
“Over the last four years, we have lobbied all sides of the House for this legislation. This was also a personal mission to achieve this for all PEI workers. I am proud we finally have this victory,” said Woodbury.
During the third reading, workers, paramedics and other union members filled the gallery. Jason Woodbury himself was present on the legislature’s floor next to Jamie Fox, the MLA who had proposed the Bill.
“Workplace mental health issues have too often been snubbed by employers, governments and even workers themselves. This helps recognize the issues and I hope other provinces will follow PEI’s example,” concluded Woodbury.