PTSD Presumption for Frontline or Emergency Response Workers

Frontline or emergency response workers no longer need to prove their diagnosed PTSD was caused by something that happened at work when they file a claim.

Starting 26 October, a diagnosis of PTSD in frontline or emergency response occupations will be presumed to be work-related. That means they won’t have to prove that their PTSD was caused by an event that happened while they were working.

The following occupations are now eligible for the PTSD presumption:

  • continuing-care assistants,
  • correctional officers (including youth workers in correctional facilities),
  • emergency-response dispatchers,
  • firefighters (municipal and federal, paid and volunteer),
  • nurses,
  • paramedics,
  • police officers, and
  • sheriffs 

If you work in one of these jobs and have a diagnosis of PTSD from  a psychiatrist or registered psychologist, the WCB can’t challenge your diagnosis.

It’s important to note, however, that you don’t need a diagnosis to begin the claim process – and in fact, WCB Nova Scotia can connect you with diagnostic resources.

Previously denied claims can also be re-filed without new evidence.

Occupational stress from traumatic events, including PTSD, is already covered for all clients of the Workers’ Compensation Board. These changes don’t affect the way other workers access benefits.

When you can make a claim

There’s no time limit between when you leave your job and when you can apply for benefits under the presumption. If you worked in one of the listed occupations, leave that job and are diagnosed with PTSD later, the presumption will still be used.

Once you’re diagnosed with PTSD, you have 5 years to make a claim.

How to make a claim

To file a claim, call the Workers’ Compensation Board 1-800-870-3331. You can also call if you want more information about the claim process.

The Workers’ Compensation Board has information with respect to making a claim for PTSD and developed a guide for frontline or emergency response workers who want to apply under the presumption.

Consultation process

In 2017, government consulted with stakeholders for their input on changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act. Read what we heard.

In 2018 the Workers’ Compensation Board led a consultation with stakeholders to update the regulations. Read summary of the consultation.