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NAPE launches workplace mental health legislation campaign

NAPE president Jerry Earle, in a speech to members attending a convention in St. John’s Friday, offers optimism about reaching collective agreements by the end of the year in public-sector bargaining with the provincial government. He said the tone of negotiations changed after the departure of former finance minister Cathy Bennett. See story, page A6
NAPE president Jerry Earle — File photo

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) launched the ‘Workplace Mental Health Legislation – Let’s Get it Right’ public relations advertising campaign Monday.

The ads will run province-wide on various platforms.

“As part of their jobs, many workers, including a large number of NAPE members, personally face or witness dangerous, threatening, violent, and/or traumatizing situations,” said NAPE president Jerry Earle said in a news release. “These situations can have a deep and lasting impact that can lead to mental health injuries and illnesses including post-traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD).

“We must remember that what happens at work doesn’t just stay at work; it doesn’t just go away when the uniform comes off or when the shift is over. These workers need and deserve supports in place to deal with their work-related mental health injuries.”

Earle said there needs to be legislative change as Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the last provinces to enact workplace mental health legislation and it can't wait any longer.

“In fact, it’s already too late for those who have lost their battle,” Earle said.

Earlier this year, NAPE released a position paper titled ‘A Call for presumptive legislation: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Occupational Stress Injuries, and the Wellbeing of the Workforce.’ This working paper was prepared by Dr. Rosemary Ricciardelli and Dr. Alan Hall of Memorial University. The report was submitted to the government to better inform their workplace mental health review.

 “The workplace mental health position paper commissioned by NAPE used quantitative and qualitative data from other Canadian jurisdictions to support recommendations for how the province should move forward with legislation on this front,” Earle said. “The paper’s key recommendation is for the province to enact comprehensive presumptive legislation for all workers, not just first responders.”

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