PTSD Bill Welcomed

By Cheryl Jahn
June 5, 2018 - 2:30pm Updated: June 5, 2018 - 5:44pm

PRINCE GEORGE - It was an opportunity for Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty to promote his Private Members' Bill to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Specifically, it is summarized as such:

"This enactment requires the Minister of Health to convene a conference with the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, provincial and territorial government representatives responsible for health and representatives of the medical community and patients’ groups for the purpose of developing a comprehensive federal framework to address the challenges of recognizing the symptoms and providing timely diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder." 

"Well,  they suffer in different ways. A lack of sleep, nervousness, they can't sit in a conversation, they have outbursts. And they can't seem to account for it. It just comes up. "

That's John Scott describing some of the symptoms he sees of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as the Service Rep for the Royal Canadian Legon, Branch 43. Traditionally, PTSD was reserved for military veterans. But it most recently, with such things as Bill C-211, is being looked at for others as well. 

"And whereas many Canadians, in particular persons who have served as first responders, firefighters, military personnel, corrections officers and members of the RCMP, suffer from PTSD and would greatly benefit from the development and implementation of a federal framework on PTSD that provides for best practices, research, education, awareness and treatment."

The change is welcomed by the likes of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

"The past couple of years it's kind of become more and more prevalent, I guess. It's been brought to the forefront," says Dean Aussem, the President of the IAFF, Local 1372. "And Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is just one issue."

In 2014, the firefighters managed to have heart disease recognized as a presumptive condition under the Firefighters Occupational Disease Regulation under the Workers Compensation Act. Last year, several forms of cancer were added to that list of presumptive conditions.

However, Doherty is concerned that, with such a long delay in the Senate, Bill C-211 will not be enacted before the House of Commons takes its summer break, despite having the unanimous support of the House nearly a year ago.


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