Mental wellness for Public Safety Personnel takes centre stage at Parliament Hill event

Regional Vice-President Jeff Sandelli attended an important political engagement on Parliament Hill on November 1st, to support the continuation of funding for the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT), a program that supports USJE members and over 350,000 other Public Safety Personnel in Canada.


In the 2018 Federal budget, as part of the National Action Plan on Post-traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI), and the Federal Framework on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the Government of Canada recognized the profound need for federal support to assist Public Safety Personnel (PSP) suffering from mental health challenges. It announced five years of funding, from 2018-2023, for a research consortium headquartered at the University of Regina, which became known as CIPSRT.


As USJE has discovered in its ongoing meetings with Members of Parliament (MPs), the topic of PSP mental wellness is not of bureaucratic debate, but rather a topic of interest across party lines, which was evident at the event with 26 MPs in attendance from across all Federal parties.

Prior to the formal commencement of the event, there was an opportunity for the PSP & CIPSRT representatives to hold dialogue with the MPs in attendance. With the majority of the PSP wearing their work uniforms, it was easy to determine the roles that were undertaken by most in attendance. 

While historically this may have been a significant issue for USJE, given the lack of instant recognition afforded by uniform, it became apparent that USJE’s ongoing political engagement strategy has been effective. 

Both Federal Ministers in attendance, as well as several MPs, recognized the USJE representatives or the union name from past interactions and tours, even approaching to discuss and gather updates as they related to our ongoing campaigns. The event also provided an opportunity for USJE to be introduced to other MPs, who all expressed a keen interest in the unique work that is undertaken by our membership.

As the formal event commenced, Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Carolyn Bennett, led off by acknowledging the crucial work that is undertaken by PSP, coupled with the stressors and impacts of the work on individuals and their families.

Subsequently, representatives from each party had the opportunity to provide greetings and words of support for PSP: Michael Kram (Conservative; event host), Pam Damoff (Liberal), Alistair MacGregor (NDP) and Kristina Michaud (Bloc). The dialogue and intention expressed by each of the leaders suggested that they understood and supported the ongoing work and funding of CIPSRT.

Of particular note were the words expressed by NDP Public Safety Critic, Alistair MacGregor. In addition to recognizing USJE prior to the formal event, he used his entire time at the microphone to talk about USJE and the members we represent. He spoke broadly about the work that USJE members conduct “behind the scenes,” further noting that as a result we do not receive the recognition we deserve as it relates to protecting public safety. He further reflected on the tour of BC prisons he received from USJE and the impact it had on him with respect to understanding the important and challenging work taken on by our members.


We encourage all of our members to visit the CIPSRT website ( to review the research, treatment, training and knowledge resource available for PSP. CIPSRT is known as a centre for “knowledge exchange” in supporting the mental health and well-being of PSP, their leaders, and their families. It provides a space for a collection of academic researchers to meet with PSP representatives to coordinate, discuss and plan with respect to evidence-based research; creation of tools; guides; and the advancement of treatment and training for frontline PSP. CIPSRT prides itself on communication that bridges the gap between the academic and frontline experience, to ensure complimentary guidance and outcomes.

USJE was an active participant in the development of CIPSRT as one of the founding member organizations, in particular led by the work of Former President, Stan Stapleton and Nancy Peckford, both honoured and recognized as “founding members” (

USJE continues to play an active role as part of the CIPSRT Public Safety Steering Committee (PSSC). As a member of the PSSC, USJE is able to lend a voice to the work that is undertaken by our members and the operational experiences and impacts they face.