Employers’ Council’s Opposition To Presumptive Mental Health Legislation is Cold, Callous, and Dangerous

 For Immediate Release:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

ST. JOHN’S, NL– The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) has obtained a copy of a letter sent to all MHAs by the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council (NLEC) outlining their opposition to presumptive mental health legislation. The letter is in response to NAPE’s ‘Workplace Mental Health Legislation – Let’s Get It Right’ campaign that was launched last month. The campaign has received overwhelming support from workers across the province.

“Part of me is not shocked that the Employers Council is opposed to good, progressive legislation that would help those who are suffering from their workplace mental health-related injuries and illnesses, as they have a strong tradition of being against anything that is good for workers, but this is particularly cold, callous, and dangerous, even for them,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “I sincerely hope I don’t see Mr. Alexander, the group he represents, or any business member of the Employer’s Council stand up for their public relations photos on mental health awareness days and campaigns any time soon.”

“This is a slap in the face of any worker out there who is suffering from a workplace mental health injury or illness,” said Earle.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the last provinces to enact presumptive workplace mental health legislation and we can’t wait any longer. In fact, it’s already too late for those who have lost their battle. I know – we deal with these workers every single day,” said Earle. “The government has a chance to get this legislation right and we will continue to press, and fight, and lobby them to make it a reality, despite the feeble attempts of the Employers’ Groups to do otherwise. We are hopeful that the government sees their intervention for what it is – a self-serving, regressive attempt to stop good legislation that will protect workers and save lives.”

Earlier this year, NAPE released a position paper titled ‘A Call for presumptive legislation: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Occupational Stress Injuries, and the Wellbeing of the Workforce’. This working paper was prepared by Dr. Rosemary Ricciardelli and Dr. Alan Hall of Memorial University. The report was submitted to the government to better inform their workplace mental health review.

“The workplace mental health position paper commissioned by NAPE used quantitative and qualitative data from other Canadian jurisdictions to support recommendations for how the province should move forward with legislation on this front,” continued Earle. “The paper’s key recommendation is for the province to enact comprehensive presumptive legislation for all workers, not just first responders.”

The report can be found here:

The ‘Let’s Get It Right’ campaign website which features research, facts, figures, and the campaign’s advertisements is:

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Dunne, NAPE Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

(cell) 709.631.9737        (email)