October 15, 2018
Public Safety Canada
Public safety officers, military personnel and Veterans play a critical role in keeping our communities safe – putting their lives and mental and physical well-being on the line to protect us.
Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, addressed attendees and took part in a panel discussion at the annual Canadian Institute of Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum in Regina, alongside Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Stéphane Lauzon.
Recognizing that firefighters, police and paramedics also face repeated exposure to traumatic incidents in the course of their work, for the first time, this year’s CIMVHR Forum has expanded to include a research stream focused on public safety officers. This year’s event is also co-hosted by the University of Regina, home to the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT).
Minister Goodale highlighted progress to date on developing an Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI) in public safety officers, noting that it will focus on national support for research and data collection; prevention; early intervention and stigma reduction; and support for care and treatment. Conversations held at the CIMVHR Forum will play an important role in advancing this work. The Action Plan, to be launched in Spring 2019, will be complemented by the development of a comprehensive federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder, led by the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health.
Parliamentary Secretary Lauzon highlighted the commitment of Veterans Affairs Canada to work with CIMVHR’s researchers to take an evidence-based approach to developing new programs to serve Veterans. This allows policy-makers to make informed decisions about best practices in caring for and supporting Veterans, military members, and their families.
The Government of Canada continues to work closely with all relevant partners to advance work on the Action Plan and the federal framework to ensure a coordinated, evidence-based approach to support mental health resiliency in military, Veterans and public safety officers.
“Public safety personnel put themselves in harm’s way to protect Canadians, putting them disproportionately at risk of post-traumatic stress injuries. We must do more to support their mental health and well-being. We’re pleased to see the inclusion of a research stream at CIMVHR supporting public safety officers, and to see them continue their good work in supporting military personnel and Veterans.”
– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“In collaboration with Public Safety Canada, the Health Portfolio is committed to doing its part to help public safety personnel living with the effects of PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance use disorder, and suicidal ideation. One way that we are doing this is through investing in research to expand the evidence base for programs aimed at improving the mental wellness and resilience of public safety personnel.”
– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health
“The health needs of Canada’s men and women in uniform depend on leading scientific research in the military and Veteran health field, which is why we’re proud of our partnership with the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. Continued collaboration between all stakeholders in this area benefit not only military members, Veterans and families, but all Canadians.”
– Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary of Veterans Affairs Canada and Associate Minister of National Defence on behalf of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
“Military members, Veterans and their families face unique experiences that require progressive responses for physical, psychological, and social care throughout military service and beyond. Multi-disciplinary research stemming from the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research has had measurable impacts on Canadian policies, and programs that can have applications for the wider Canadian population including public safety personnel.”
– Dr. David Pedlar, Scientific Director, Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research
“The CIMVHR Forum has been a beacon of hope in learning for health research in support of our military and our Veterans for the past 9 years. I am delighted to see the ongoing record growth in submissions and participants, as well as this year the unprecedented introduction of research related to public safety personnel. The RCMP have long been considered part of the Veteran community and many of our Veterans go on to work in corrections, firefighting, paramedicine, police, and other public safety personnel, all of which makes research and advances with military and public safety complementary. I am excited about the potential synergies these distinct communities can bring together for improving the health of all those who serve.”
– Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, Scientific Director, Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment
The Government of Canada’s commitment to public safety officer mental health was highlighted in Budget 2018, which included:
- $20 million over five years, beginning in 2018-19, to support a new national research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and CIPSRT; and
- $10 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, for Public Safety Canada to work with CIPSRT to develop an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy pilot as a means of providing greater access to care and treatment for public safety officers.
To date, Public Safety Canada has invested $386,000 to advance research into post-traumatic stress injuries among public safety officers. The outcomes of this work will directly inform the Government of Canada’s work to develop an action plan on post-traumatic stress injuries for public safety officers.
The Government of Canada launched the Memorial Grant Program in 2018, which will recognize the service and sacrifice of first responders who die as a direct result of carrying out their duties, including death resulting from operational stress injuries.
The CIMVHR Forum is an annual event where government, academia, industry and philanthropic sectors gather to present new research, exchange ideas and collaborate on mental health issues affecting military, Veterans and public safety personnel.
Senior Advisor for Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada