Alberta asked to expand PTSD coverage under new bill
Prison guards, peace officers and social workers held a rally in Edmonton Wednesday asking to be included under new legislation that makes it easier for first responders to file Workers Compensation claims for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Bill 1, which was given royal assent this week, designates PTSD as a "presumptive Illness" for police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
Corrections officer Robert Clarke said people who work in prisons experience stress similar to the job categories covered by the new law.
"Whatever happens on the street is magnified inside the prison. We deal with all sorts of violence, from assaults, assaults with weapons, sexual assaults. We deal with suicides," Clarke said.
"The horrors we see are certainly magnified inside. It makes no sense to us as to why we aren't included in this bill."
For those who aren't covered under Bill 1, the process of making a WCB claim for PTSD adds even more stress, said NDP MLA Rachel Notley.
"The WCB takes their life apart in order to prove that its some failing of theirs that caused the problem and that is a traumatizing event in and of itself," she said.
Government spokesperson Kathy Telfer says very few PTSD claims are turned down.
She says no other workers are being considered for the presumptive illness designation at this time.