Media Advisory: Crucial Workplace Improvements Needed for Hundreds of RCMP’s Detachment Services Assistants, Mostly Women, across Canada

OTTAWA, ON – The Union of Safety and Justice Employees (USJE) will be convening a virtual press conference on Monday, March 7, 2022 at 10 am Eastern time to release a report by leading public safety academic Dr. Rosemary Ricciardelli and colleagues entitled ‘The Mental Health and Well-being of Detachment Services Assistants in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: A Qualitative Investigation.’ 

The report focuses on the experiences of Detachment Services Assistants, who are largely women and serve as the first point of contact in every RCMP detachment across the country. It highlights their particular challenges as predominantly female workers, including risk of violence and occupational stress injury.

The report provides 12 key recommendations to improve the mental health and efficacy of DSAs working in the RCMP, including the installation of bullet proof glass, mandatory inclusion in critical incident debriefs, the development and implementation of comprehensive training for DSAs across the country, as well as access to mental health supports that reflects their needs and reduces the risk of stigma. 

Dr. Rosemary Ricciardelli of Memorial University of Newfoundland, the lead author of the report, sums up her findings: “Detachment service assistants are foundational to the functioning and effectiveness of the RCMP. Their needs, risks, and well-being must be recognized and responded to in wholistic ways — including the realities of vicarious or secondary trauma which impact nearly all DSAs.” 

David Neufeld, President of USJE explains why they commissioned Dr. Ricciardelli for this research: “Detachment Service Assistants enable the crucial public safety work of every RCMP detachment in the country. They provide key operational support to RCMP members when it comes to responding to emergencies, criminal background checks and investigations, oversight of offenders on release, as well as the maintenance of crucial RCMP databases. We have already met with Commissioner Lucki on the findings of this report, and are pleased to be working together to implement some of the recommendations as quickly as possible.”  

“In the lead up to International Women’s Day, it is particularly important to reflect on how work historically done by women has not always received the recognition or resources it deserves. We trust with this report, and continuing dialogue with the Commissioner and her team, we can help shift the culture and tools for DSAs for the decades ahead”, added President Neufeld.

Location: Zoom

Date and time: Monday March 7 2022 at 10 am Eastern 

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For further information, please contact
Sébastien Bezeau, Director of Policy, Projects, and Media Relations

902 240-2222,