Paramedics riding in an annual cycling ride from Toronto to Ottawa used the event to throw their support behind an Ontario private member's bill that would recognize Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a work-related injury for first responders.
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NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo’s proposal would alter the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to presume PTSD is a workplace injury unless proven otherwise.
Geoff MacBride with the Ontario Paramedics Association estimates a quarter of the group's members will suffer from some form of PTSD in their career, an unpleasant result of a job that takes to them to life and death situations almost daily.
Annick Allard said she and her husband are both paramedics, but he has been off on long term disability with a diagnosis of PTSD. If he doesn't recover in two years, then under the current legislation the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board won't recognize it as a workplace injury, she says.
Allard said many paramedics and first responders who suffer from PTSD feel abandoned by the government.
"He gave 26 years of his life for his community...and he's seven years away from retirement. What's going to happen?" she asks.
Bill 2 is the fourth attempt in Ontario to recognize PTSD as a work-related injury for police, firefighters and paramedics.