“Through the introduction of this Private Member’s Bill, C-357, crucial changes to the Government Employees Compensation Act have been proposed. USJE is seeking all party support as quickly as possible to adopt them in support of the thousands of federal public safety personnel who keep Canadians safe every day. It is urgent that the Parliament of Canada rectify a gaping hole in the presumptive injury coverage landscape for many federal public safety and justice employees whose mental health is severely compromised while on the job.”
National President David Neufeld
Urgent Changes Sought to Federal Legislation which Excludes Public Safety Personnel from Compensation for Mental Health Injuries
September 20, 2023
OTTAWA, ON – Today in the House of Commons, Peter Julian, MP for New Westminster-Burnaby (British-Columbia) introduced a Private Member’s Bill in support of the Union of Safety and Justice Employee’s longstanding call to ensure more federal public safety personnel have access to Worker’s Compensation for mental health related injuries.
Proposals in the bill tabled today include key revisions to the federal Government Employees Compensation Act, a piece of legislation that has not fundamentally changed since its establishment over 50 years ago, so that federal public safety personnel do not fall between the cracks.
Quick facts on GECA
The federal Union of Safety and Justice Employee is urgently calling on all parties to close a key gap is federal legislation so that federal public safety personnel have access to Worker’s Compensation for mental health related injuries, just like first responders in most provinces and territories.
The federal Government Employees Compensation Act (GECA) is a piece of legislation that has not fundamentally changed since its establishment 50 years ago. As it is currently written, it leaves behind tens of thousands of federal public safety personnel who suffer from psychological injuries owing to their efforts to keep Canadians safe from coast to coast to coast.
These federal public safety personnel are largely overlooked by the Government of Canada even though they are regularly exposed to traumatic incidents, materials, victims and criminalized persons.
Key changes to GECA would ensure that Federal public safety personnel—many of whom are regularly denied Worker’s Compensation by provincial/territorial boards for their injuries—would finally have access to the compensation and support they so deserve.
Leading Public Safety researcher, Dr. Rose Ricciardelli, has endorsed the call for changes to the federal Government Employees Compensation Act in order to ensure that all public safety personnel, no matter where they live in Canada, have access to Workers’ Compensation and access to timely, trauma-informed psychological care.
USJE’s proposed changes to the Government Employees Compensation Act would broaden the entitlement among federal public safety personnel to presumptive injury claims for work-related psychological injuries.
A Private Member’s Bill (Bill C-357) in support of USJE’s proposed changes to GECA was introduced this past September by MP Peter Julian.
USJE’s proposed changes to the federal Government Employees Compensation Act also respond to key recommendations from the House of Commons Public Safety study in 2016: entitled Healthy Minds, Safe Communities: Supporting our Public Safety Officers through a National Strategy for Operational Stress Injuries.