NAPE Applauds Provincial Government’s Presumptive Workplace Mental Health Legislation

 For Immediate Release:

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

ST. JOHN’S, NL– The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) is applauding the provincial government’s presumptive workplace mental health legislation that was announced today.

“This is a big win for our union, the labour movement, and, most importantly, every worker out there who is suffering from their workplace-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “This government should be commended for listening to workers and their families in crafting this vital piece of legislation that will help so many who are hurting.” 

“As part of their jobs, many workers, including a large number of NAPE members, personally face or witness dangerous, threatening, violent, and/or traumatizing situations. These situations can have a deep and lasting impact that can lead to mental health injuries and illnesses including PTSD,” said Earle. “Today, these members have received a clear message from the provincial government that their concerns have been heard and that they are being taken seriously.”

The announced workplace mental health legislation will cover all workers for their work-related PTSD. The government has committed to conducting a review in the near future to look at the potential for covering all serious workplace-related psychological injuries, such as major depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders, under legislation.

“We were clear from the start that any presumptive workplace mental health legislation would need to cover all workers and not just first-responders – mental health doesn’t know or care what job you do,” said Earle. “We were very happy to see every worker included in this important legislation and we look forward to the review process so we can press to have all serious workplace psychological injuries included in the near future so that no worker falls through the cracks.”

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. The paper’s key recommendation was for the province to enact comprehensive presumptive legislation for all workers, not just first responders.

On the heels of the position paper’s release, NAPE launched a province-wide advertising campaign entitled, Workplace Mental Health Legislation – Let’s Get It Right. The powerful campaign featured workers from a wide array of professions and workplaces and presented the urgent need for presumptive workplace mental health legislation for all workers in the province.

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