Correctional officers are calling upon British Columbia’s government to make legislative change to help first responders dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder
VICTORIA, Nov. 22, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ – Today, the Pacific Region representants for the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) met with British Columbia’s Provincial Minister of Labour, the Honourable Harry Bains, and Deputy Minister Trevor Hughes, to discuss the intention of the Government with respect to amending the Workers’ Compensation Act to include a presumption of occupational stress injuries (OSI) for first responders.
Derek Chin, Pacific Regional President of UCCO-SACC-CSN, highlighted the fact that similar presumptive legislations are already in place in different provinces, such as Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. “Correctional Officers in British Columbia face a serious treatment bias due to the absence of any legislation at our provincial level regarding the recognition of the high prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst first reponders.”
Currently, correctional officers in B.C. face serious struggle around PTSD and OSI before WorkSafeBC accepts claims and begins treatment. The first few months are the most crucial when treating an officer diagnosed with an OSI, but often that time is spent attempting to have the claim accepted. The presumption clause would mean that claims would be accepted because presumed to be caused by work unless the contrary can be shown.
The Minister and the Deputy Minister confirmed the intention of the Government to present such legislation in the Spring of 2018. Although this may be good news for the 1250 correctional officers working in federal institutions in British Columbia, the union wants to make sure the Minister and his team understand the importance to include correctional officers as first responders when they draft the bill. “We, as Correctional Officers, are the forgotten first responders. Inside the walls of the institutions, out of sight, we perform the duties of police, firefighters and paramedics”, added Derek Chin.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers will follow this file diligently and will continue to put pressure on the B.C.’s NPD governement until there is a strong legislation that responds to the needs of first responders, including correctional officers.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) has over 7400 members in five major regions of Canada: British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic. UCCO-SACC-CSN represents the job titles of CX1 and CX2 in 49 federal institutions.
For further information: Katerine Desgroseilliers, Communication Advisor – CSN, 514 265-4250