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PTSD now covered under P.E.I. Workers Compensation Act

At a press conference on Tuesday, CUPE P.E.I. called on the province to proclaim legislation that received unanimous support and royal assent in December that would provide added support for workers with PTSD. In this photo is Carl Pursey, president of the P.E.I. Federation of Labour, left, Jason Woodbury, president of CUPE Local 3324, centre, and CUPE P.E.I. president Leonard Crawford.
At a press conference earlier this month, Jason Woodbury, president of CUPE Local 3324, called on the province to proclaim legislation that received unanimous support and royal assent in December that would provide added support for workers with PTSD. - File photo

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Legislation to have post-traumatic stress disorder covered under the Workers Compensation Act has passed the last step needed to come into effect.

On Tuesday, Workforce Minister Sonny Gallant confirmed in the legislature that cabinet proclaimed a private members bill that made PTSD covered by the Workers Compensation Board.

Jason Woodbury, Miscouche’s fire chief and president of CUPE local 3324, has been calling for the government to proclaim the bill since it passed in December and he was at the legislature Tuesday to hear the news.

Woodbury said it took five years of work to get the coverage for Island workers.

“It’s a relief,” he said.

Related: P.E.I. workforce minister defends post-traumatic stress disorder legislation

Related: CUPE P.E.I. calls on province to proclaim PTSD legislation before the end of the spring session

In December, MLAs unanimously passed a private-members bill to have PTSD covered by the Workers Compensation Board, but that bill wasn’t proclaimed until Tuesday.

Under the private members bill, physicians were included in the list of people who could diagnose PTSD in workers compensation cases.

The Liberal government tabled its own bill this spring with several amendments to the Workers Compensation Act, including only allowing psychiatrists and psychologists to make a PTSD diagnosis.

The Liberals also included an amendment to expand the scope of coverage for workers.

Those amendments the Liberals proposed passed second reading Tuesday with unanimous support in the legislature after a new bill was introduced.

Woodbury said he didn’t agree with the government taking out physicians as a group that could diagnose PTSD under the legislation because of long waits in getting to see psychiatrists or psychologists.

“If we feel it is a problem within our members and workers on Prince Edward Island then we’ll approach government again to lobby to have that changed and put physicians back into the bill,” he said.

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