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Understand that the rules were what they were for civvy contractors, but it appears the best that can be done to this point is sending him to Workers' Comp?
A bit more @ linkThe telephone call that changed Mohammad Amin's life came in the summer of 2005, while he was working as a supervisor at a manufacturing plant in Toronto.
An Afghan immigrant, he'd lived a quiet, peaceful life and was looking to get married and settle down.
But Amin also had skills and expertise that were in short supply in the Canadian military as it prepared for what was then expected to be a year-long deployment in Kandahar, his hometown. He spoke the local languages — Dari and Pashto — and knew the finer points of what many in the West still see as an inscrutable culture.
The army major on the other end of the call asked Amin to serve his new country as a "language and cultural adviser" to the mission. He agreed, seeing it as a way to give back to both his new home and the country of his birth.
The year-long deployment turned into a five-year combat mission for the Canadian Armed Forces. Like a lot of other Canadians who took part in that mission, Amin brought the war home with him in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
But unlike most of the Canadians he served with under fire, Amin went to Afghanistan as a civilian contractor — not a soldier. And when he reached out to the federal government for help with his condition, he was told he wasn't eligible because he had not applied for civilian benefits within three months of the end of his contract.
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Amin deployed seven times over the span of the mission. He earned rave reviews from his various commanders and a military General Service Medal for his work in translating and gathering intelligence outside the wire in one of the most dangerous places in the world.
(Amin conducted a number of high-risk missions that are classified and, because of security concerns, CBC News has agreed to not publish his full name.)
While he'd been offered a spot with the Canadian military training mission in Kabul, by 2011 Amin had decided he'd had enough. But coming home only meant trading one struggle for another — this time with the government that sent him to Kandahar in the first place.
He's experienced all the classic PTSD symptoms — nightmares, insomnia, crushing depression, flashbacks, panic attacks, bouts of uncontrollable weeping. He initially sought help for his condition by calling the Veterans Affairs helpline in 2012.
Canadian soldiers diagnosed with PTSD linked to their service can qualify for subsidized treatment, income supports and a job placement service. But civilian contractors aren't in line for any of those benefits. A spokesperson for Veterans Affairs, Josh Bueckert, said the department "does not provide benefits for civilian contractors hired" by the military.
'Loyal Canadians who served in a war zone'
Amin tried the Veterans Affairs help line, but his case was shuffled back to National Defence, where senior officials could only recommend he seek help through the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. After almost two years of waiting, he has yet to receive a decision from the board.
"We're talking about ... loyal Canadians who served in a war zone," he said. "You can't send them to [the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.] It should be the responsibility of the federal government."
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Sajjan was made aware of Amin's plight in 2017. His lawyers wrote to the minister twice.
They asked the federal government to set up a special program to offer treatment to this group of cultural advisers, to change the federal regulations so that they are considered "veterans" for the purposes of PTSD benefits, or to make ex-gratia payments to former cultural advisers on an individual level.
On Nov. 29, 2017, Sajjan wrote back to say he was "truly sorry" for Amin and that he had directed the department "to look into the case and find any and all possible solutions," which could include assigning a peer support co-ordinator.
A spokesperson for National Defence, Dan Le Bouthillier, said Canada hired up to 70 cultural advisers to serve with Canadian soldiers during the mission. He said federal officials are working with the WSIB and Health Canada to address the plight of people like Amin.
"The department is currently conducting internal verifications and exploring available options to assist civilians who supported CAF international operations," he said in an email ...