I would like to take this opportunity to provide some brief comments on behalf of your Board of Directors regarding the recently released Federal Budget. The Budget document has a number of areas that may impact our Paramedic Community indirectly.
1 – Community Heroes Benefit
On a positive note, I would like to acknowledge the significant investment in the budget under the heading “Recognizing our Community Heroes”. This investment of $80 million over five years will see the implementation of a benefit to support families of Public Safety Officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
This benefit is in line with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s post-election mandate and comes as a result of consultations that included the Paramedic Chiefs of Canada.
At the same time that we celebrate the introduction of the benefit, there remains an unaddressed key element in the mandate that was to address “permanent disability” as well. PCC will be continuing in our efforts to collaborate and support the Ministry as opportunities arise related to this mandate.
2 – Mental Health
While the Federal Budget continues on a theme of investing in strategies to address mental health issues. This budget very legitimately provides investment to improve mental health in the inmate population as well as for Canada’s Veterans and Families. Both crucially important areas of need, however direct funding associated with the development of a National Action Plan addressing the Public Safety was not addressed.
PCC would like to reassure the membership that the association will continue to work towards a National Action Plan. While not specifically referenced in the budget this has received support and commitment from the Minister of Public Safety.
3 – PTSD Center of Excellence
The Federal Budget proposes an investment of $17.5 million over 4 years to create a Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions. The Centre would have a focus on the creation and dissemination of knowledge on prevention, assessment and treatment of PTSD and related mental health conditions for veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members. Again, a crucially important investment and PCC will be monitoring the progress seeking opportunities for this work to be applied to the Public Safety Community, including Paramedics.
PCC along with PAC and the broader Public Safety Community have been working collaboratively with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT). CIPSRT is a national network that responds to the urgent needs of the Tri-Services and Public Safety sector to provide the best practical scientific evidence that will lead to real and imminent positive impact on the mental health of all public safety personnel. The ongoing work and existing collaborations nationally demonstrate the need to develop, implement, and broadly use standardized assessment tools and procedures for measuring and treating symptoms of PTSD and other operational stress injuries.
It was our hope that CIPSRT would have been played a more direct role in the work resulting from this budget however, this again does not necessarily interfere with the momentum already gained. Our association, alongside of the broader Public Safety Personnel Community will continue to work with all collaborating partners in an effort to continue to build the necessary supports to protect our Public Safety Personnel’s Mental Health.
The reaction to the budget is mixed. Understanding the difficult decisions made with fiduciary restraint and competing priorities, we are very appreciative of the investments recognized above.
At the same time, we will have work to do over the next year for our Public Safety Communities to leverage the indirect investments as well as to seek out opportunities to re-emphasize our specific priorities that have yet to be addressed.
Thank you for your continued support of our association.
Paramedic Chiefs of Canada
201 – 4 Florence Street
Ph: 705-743-5263 Ext. 4111