Charlottetown – This Tuesday, May 8, CUPE PEI held a press conference to demand that the provincial government proclaim Bill 102, An Act to Amend the Workers’ Compensation Act. The bill aims to provide added support to workers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder by providing presumptive coverage to workers when they apply for compensation for PTSD.
CUPE PEI President Leonard Crawford and Jason Woodbury, President of CUPE Local 3324 and Miscouche’s Fire Chief, made their demand clear: “Bill 102 must be made law immediately. Despite the unanimous support of the legislature, going through all three readings and receiving Royal Assent in December 2017, somehow, it’s not yet law,” said Leonard Crawford.
“After four months, it’s clear this sluggishness is deliberate. This standstill is unacceptable. We demand Premier MacLauchlan act now,” said Crawford.
Rumours that a snap election might be called this summer worry union members, who fear Bill 102 may never see the light of day.
“The Government has a plan to put in its own PTSD legislation, Bill 2, which is basically Bill 102 with a broadened scope. That sounds great, but until Bill 2 goes through all the legislative hoops like Bill 102 did, we should err on the side of caution and protect the gain we should already have,” said Woodbury.
“Doing otherwise than enacting Bill 102 sends the worst message to PEI workers. It means injured workers are less of a priority for this government than crass partisanship,” denounced Woodbury.
CUPE PEI notes that Bill 2 is not without flaws. The proposed changes make it so only psychiatrists and psychologists can deliver a PTSD diagnostic to make compensation possible. The ongoing psychologist and psychiatrist shortage on the Island means there will remain significant barriers to eligibility.
“Proclaim Bill 102, and then, we can talk about making it better through a Bill 2 after”, concluded Crawford.