PTSD and first responders

First responders are front-line workers who respond to 9-1-1 and other emergency calls. They include:

  • full-time firefighters
  • part-time firefighters
  • volunteer firefighters
  • fire investigators
  • police officers
  • members of an emergency response team
  • paramedics
  • emergency medical attendants
  • ambulance service managers
  • workers in a correctional institution
  • workers in a place of secure custody or place of secure temporary detention
  • workers involved in dispatch

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition caused by witnessing or experiencing actual or threatened death, serious injury or violence. Someone with PTSD can experience nightmares, uncontrollable memories, persistent fear and severe anxiety.

First responders are at least twice as likely to suffer from PTSD because of the traumatic events they often deal with. Being affected by these types of events is normal. However, if thoughts of these events start to seriously affect a first responder long after the event, they could be experiencing PTSD.

Supporting first responders and other workers

Under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, a PTSD diagnosis for certain workers is presumed to be work-related.

This helps these workers access Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits, resources and timely treatment.

PTSD prevention plans

Employers of workers covered by the presumption in the Workplace Safety and Insurance ActWorkplace Safety and Insurance Act are required to provide information about their plans to prevent PTSD in their workplaces.

A toolkit is available to help employers prepare their PTSD prevention plans and programs.

Read the plans

Search the data table for PTSD information and prevention plans that have been submitted by employers of first responders and other workers to the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

These plans belong to the organizations that submitted them. We are sharing these in the format they were received. If you need this content in an alternate format or language, please contact the organization directly.

PTSD and anti-stigma awareness e-learning

To support your organization’s PTSD prevention plan, employees can take a 45-60 minute e-learning course. The course provides evidence-based information to improve understanding and reduce the stigma associated with PTSD. It is offered by the Public Services Health & Safety Association, for a fee.