Friday, April 13, 2012

PTSD coverage for emergency services workers

The Alberta progressive conservative party is promising, if re-elected, to extend automatic compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder to emergency services personnel. Special treatment for emergency service personnel is not unusual. For example, certain cancers are automatically compensable for firefighters

This is likely to be a popular election promise: emergency services workers are well regarded (they have tough jobs) and the cost of this promise is relatively low and borne by employers (although, most emergency-service employers are governments so this is ultimately a tax-funded expenditure).

While I’m sure I’ll take some heat for saying this, I find this proposal (the sole health and safety plank in the PC platform) to be pretty disappointing. It would be much more meaningful if the conservative party took action on either Premier Redford’s promise to extend basic safety rights to farm workers or on Thomas Lukaszuk’s promise to finally ticket unsafe employers. Instead, the PCs make a small-potatoes promise to a group of workers who are already relatively privileged.

This isn’t, however, surprising. The PCs have always been the party of business and the rest of the PC platform on labour (pp. 28-30) reflects this. It includes sops to the tarsand and construction industries (more migrant workers and weaker labour laws to "secur(e) the promise of Alberta's future"!) and some further meaningless platitudes about improving aboriginal employment.

-- Bob Barnetson

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