On Tuesday April 6, 2021 at 10:30am the Ontario Governement hosted a press conference on Zoom to announce funding for the OPP Healthy Workplace Team to allow expansion of mental health services for the OPP.
"The Ontario government is investing $12.5 million over three years to strengthen the mental health services available to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and their families. The funding will support the hiring of 20 additional mental-health support staff and enhance the OPP's Healthy Workplace initiative to address issues of mental health and occupational stress injuries. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy."
For a link to the press release from the Ontario Government click here:
A recording of the Zoom press conference is below:
OPP Association President Rob Stinson spoke at the press conference.
The text of President Stinson's speech is below:
Good morning. Greetings to Honourable Ministers Jones, Downey and Bethlenfalvy , MPP Dunlop and Commissioner Carrique. It is an honour to speak today on behalf of the active and retired, uniform and civilian members of the Ontario Provincial Police Association.
The OPP Association welcomes the funding for the OPP Healthy Workplace Team. This will further enhance available resources everywhere in Ontario for the health and well being of our members and their families. There can never be enough support, and we thank the Ontario Government for their ongoing attention to promote a healthy workplace environment in the OPP.
It is important to note that since 1989, thirty-eight members of the Ontario Provincial Police have died by suicide. This number includes thirty-seven uniform members and one civilian member. Twenty-four were active members and thirteen were retired.
In addition, 110 uniform active members of the OPP have died in the line of duty, the latest in November, 2020 with the death of Provincial Constable Marc Hovingh on Manitoulin Island.
It is important that we acknowledge and remember the sacrifice and service of all of our members, and keep the memory of those who lost their lives, their families, friends and colleagues in our thoughts and decision making processes to prevent further deaths every day.
Our members are strong and resilient. Every day our members are exposed to traumatic events, whether they are front line police officers, dispatchers, call takers or support staff. The more that we can be proactive and match clinicians that are a good fit for our individual members in a timely manner, in the area they are working in, the more chance we have of our members being able to process their trauma and remain healthy.
The province of Ontario is very large and the areas our members find themselves working in are often underserviced for professional mental health supports. With the evolution of technology, our members are connecting with clinicians when they are in remote areas through our OPP Association Encompas Mental Health Wellness Program
funded by the Ontario Government and in operation since March, 2020.
The additional funding for the Healthy Workplace Team will allow us to continue the reach of this important work to our members.
Seeking help for mental health in the policing world traditionally has a stigma attached to it. We are happy to report that for those members accessing the existing supports, 94% of member clients feel the program had or will have a positive impact on their mental health, 93% of participants were highly satisfied with the program, and 93% of the participants recommended the program.
We are grateful for the Provincial Government funding. We know that more work is needed to reach all of our members and their families. It can never be stressed enough that in person treatment is the best, so more trained professional trauma support staff in all areas of the province is very welcome.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, our members have our commitment to be there for them and support them, in collaboration with the Commissioner and the Command Team of the Ontario Provincial Police. Thank you to all working tirelessly to help our members and their families remain healthy to better protect our communities across Ontario.