B.C. expands mental-health injury access to nurses, 911 operators and aides

VICTORIA — Emergency dispatchers, nurses and care aides in B.C. will soon have easier access to workers’ compensation for mental-health disorders associated to their work.

Labour Minister Harry Bains says the regulatory changes are about fairness and support for workers who experience mental harm because of their jobs.

Bains says people in certain professions are more likely to encounter trauma on the job that can lead to mental illness.

The government changed the Workers’ Compensation Act last year to add a list of mental-health disorders associated with jobs like police and firefighters, and now Bains says they’re expanding that to the other occupations.

B.C Nurses’ Union president Christine Sorensen says 2016 WorkSafeBC statistics show nurses accounted for 12 per cent of claims because of mental disorders and the changes will provide resources and support for nurses who are suffering from mental injury.

Oliver Gruter-Andrew, the CEO of the 911 call centre E-Comm, says the change is good news because people experience a high level of emotional stress as they work to save lives.

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