Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Occupational Therapy, operational stress injury (OSI), prevention, public safety, treatment, return to work


The purpose of this Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) is to assist public safety leaders in understanding the human and financial costs of operational stress injuries (OSIs) and possible solutions to this issue. OSIs, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are a growing problem for public safety organizations, requiring new and innovative solutions. This OIP is applied to a fire and rescue organization in a small urban centre in Ontario that faces similar OSI challenges to many other public safety organizations. The Problem of Practice (PoP) is a lack of implementation of effective practices to mitigate the impact of OSIs. The foundation of this OIP is located in the postmodern paradigm and shaped by political organizational theory, taking a novel perspective on the problem of OSIs, as well as creating the opportunity for multiple stakeholder perspectives to be heard and solutions to be negotiated. Using adaptive and team leadership approaches, a preferred solution of OSI prevention, treatment, and return to work services is planned and described using the Change Path Model. This solution is informed by best practices in OSI intervention, including the Occupational Therapy Trauma Intervention Framework (OTTIF). Plans for change implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and communication advance an innovative solution to the problem of OSIs in a fire and rescue organization. The outcome of this OIP will be a novel approach to OSI prevention, treatment, and return to work services in an Ontario fire and rescue organization, with the potential to inform change initiatives in other public safety settings.