This release was issued under a previous government.
The Alberta government has introduced new legislation to streamline the process for Alberta’s first responders to receive Workers’ Compensation Board coverage for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"Bill 1 reaffirms our commitment to our province's first responders recognizing their crucial role in Albertans’ safety and health and dealing with some of life's most traumatic experiences. These brave men and women put their lives on the line in our greatest time of need, and we need to respond to them when they need help.”
Changes proposed under Bill 1: The Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act will allow firefighters, police officers, sheriffs and paramedics to receive compensation for PTSD without having to prove their condition is work-related. Alberta will be the first province in Canada to provide such coverage.
“There is increased awareness of the affects of PTSD over the last decade. This proposed legislation recognizes first responders who face traumatic experiences. We are proud to support them and bring forward legislation that leads the country.”
PTSD is an intense emotional and psychological response to a recent or past traumatic event that is life-threatening, very disturbing or stressful. Symptoms include reliving the event through nightmares or flashbacks, emotional numbness, avoiding reminders of the event, and being on edge or easily startled.
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Bill One Questions and Answers
What professions are considered to be ‘first responders’?
First responders are typically considered to be paramedics, firefighters and police officers. This proposed legislation also includes sheriffs.
How many first responders will be affected by this proposed legislation?
More than 27,000 first responders will be provided with presumptive coverage for PTSD. This includes approximately 3,800 municipal police, 13,500 firefighters (both full and part time), 9,200 paramedics, and 700 sheriffs currently employed in Alberta. This legislation also extends to those previously in these roles.
Does this coverage extend to members of the RCMP or armed forces?
No, the RCMP and armed forces have their own coverage, which falls under federal jurisdiction.
Government recently extended WCB cancer coverage to part-time firefighters. Are they included in this proposed PTSD coverage?
Yes, the definition of first responder includes the same group of firefighters.
What is the cost of this proposed legislation and who will pay for it?
Any costs associated with any work-related claim are paid by the WCB. Employers pay WCB premiums. As such, employers indirectly pay the cost of all WCB claims.
Do we expect WCB employer premiums to increase as a result of this proposed revision to legislation?
As PTSD is already covered under WCB policy, it is not anticipated that the number of claims received will change. It is also not anticipated that any additional successful claims will have any significant overall impact in employer premiums.
Why is this change to legislation being considered now?
The reality of PTSD has emerged over the last decade. Like physical ailments and injuries experienced in the workplace, PTSD causes real hardship to those suffering, and their families.
What coverage is in place for other professions?
Those not covered under the proposed legislation can still submit a claim for PTSD. The difference is that they would have to prove their claim. In other words, if a first responder is diagnosed with PTSD, it will be presumed to be work related, unless proven otherwise.
Media inquiries may be directed to: