In November, Quebec paramedic Olivier Mireault responded to a call at his mom's house. The 63-year-old ended up dying in her son's arms of an aortic aneurysm rupture after he couldn't revive her. "I said, 'This can't be real. Someone wake me up,'" Mireault tells the CBC. He was diagnosed with PTSD after the incident and has been off the job for seven months, but his workplace health and safety board (CNESST) has denied his claim for workers' compensation. The problem: Mireault got to work early to prepare his equipment on the day of his mother's death; he and his partner heard the call come in and responded to it a few minutes before his shift officially began.
Though they left the garage 13 seconds after Mireault's shift officially started, CNESST takes issue with the fact that he responded when he was off the clock. In order for a compensation request to be granted, the incident must have occurred during work hours and must have been "unexpected and sudden." Mireault, 36, doesn't know when he will be able to go back to work: "If one day I have to transport my father, my sister, my daughters, my friends, my wife, I don't know how I would react." The president of a local organization that represents ambulance workers tells the CBC that CNESST often refuses PTSD claims from paramedics because the board considers the possibility of PTSD to be part of the job. (Read more workers' compensation stories.)