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Ontario passes legislation on PTSD treatment for first responders

Click to play video 'Ontario introduces legislation on PTSD strategy for first responders' Ontario introduces legislation on PTSD strategy for first responders
WATCH ABOVE: Labour Minister Kevin Flynn made an announcement with Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi, introducing legislation that will see post-traumatic stress disorder included as a “presumptive” occupational illness for first responders – Feb 18, 2016

TORONTO — Ontario has unanimously passed legislation recognizing post traumatic stress disorder as work-related illness for police, firefighters and paramedics.

Under the old rules, first responders had to prove their PTSD was related to their job to be eligible for coverage under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

READ MORE: 8 deaths so far in 2016: Canada’s first responder PTSD crisis

New legislation that assumes PTSD is work-related for first responders passed third and final reading by a vote of 96-to-0.

The government says first responders are at least twice as likely as the general population to suffer from PTSD, and that the condition results in more suicide attempts than all other anxiety disorders.

READ MORE: Invisible Wounds – PTSD and a growing crisis in the military

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown calls the bill a step forward for police, firefighters and paramedics struggling with PTSD, and says he hopes it will save lives.

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New Democrat Cheri DiNovo, who introduced five different bills trying to extend WSIB coverage to first responders with PTSD, says she’d like to see it expanded to include nurses, special constables, bailiffs and parole officers.

VIDEO: Ontario pushes for quicker treatment for first responders suffering from PTSD

Click to play video 'Ontario pushes for quicker treatment for first responders suffering from PTSD' Ontario pushes for quicker treatment for first responders suffering from PTSD
Ontario pushes for quicker treatment for first responders suffering from PTSD – Feb 18, 2016