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First responders suffering from PTSD need better care, funding: NDP

The provincial opposition has re-introduced to legislature the Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act for first responders in BC suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

NDP spokesperson for labour Shane Simpson says this would apply to police, firefighters, and paramedics and believes this is needs to be addressed.

“The first time this was done in 2016, we encouraged the government to either take the legislation that was introduced, or produce a bill, a piece of legislation of their own from the government’s side that would achieve the same objective.”

The legislation is in response to WorkSafe BC’s system, where Simpson claims too many claims have been denied for a long time.

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Last year, 63 first responders across Canada took their lives as a result of PTSD; 19 of them were from British Columbia.

Simpson claims they deserve professional care, as well as the proper funding, for performing “one of the toughest jobs in the province.”

“Everyday, first responders are dealing with traumatic situations, with life-threatening situations; they’re dealing with death and fatalities, and that’s why we see this pressure around post-traumatic stress we don’t necessarily see in other professions.”

He says if the BC NDP takes office on May 9th, they wouldn’t question introducing a bill to help those who suffer.

“Our commitment, having produced and tabled this piece of legislation twice, that’s a message that this is something that we’re prepared to do and that we want to do.”

Simpson hopes, regardless of the provincial election’s outcome, a joint agreement can be made to care for BC’s safety enforcers.

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