WCB Nova Scotia is hosting a First Responder Symposium in Dartmouth on May 28th to connect organizations and individuals from across the province, to help us develop workplace mental health resources for workers in front-line emergency service occupations.
In 2017, the Government of Nova Scotia revised the Workers’ Compensation Act to include the benefit of automatic presumption for front line and emergency-response workers. Consultation to inform the supporting regulations were completed during the summer of 2018, and the regulations took effect later that fall.
“In the consultations we heard loud and clear from stakeholders that more mental health resources are needed to support emergency response workers who are at risk of developing PTSD,” recalls Shelley Rowan, WCB Nova Scotia’s Vice President of Prevention and Service Delivery. “We committed to come back to the first responder community once presumption was in place, to start the conversation about how best to address the resource gaps.”
The Symposium will include presentations by Colonel Rakesh Jetly, Senior Psychiatry Advisor for the Canadian Armed Forces, and Steve Farina, Vice President of the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Association. Mr. Farina serves on the steering committee for the BC First Responders Mental Health Program, which has successfully brought first responder organizations together to develop a set of workplace mental health tools to support workers, their families, leaders, and co-workers.
“We’re looking forward to working with first responders, labour representatives and leaders to develop appropriate and effective resources for Nova Scotian workers,” says Shelley Rowan.