Mental Health

B.C. focuses on repeat offenders

An independent six-month study of repeat criminal offenders is being launched by the B.C. government as part of a plan to curb chronic crime and random attacks. The study is led by Doug Lepard, a former Vancouver deputy police chief, and Amanda Butler, a criminologist and health researcher with a focus on mental health, substance-use disorders, criminal justice systems and prison health. [node:read-more:link]

Policing and mental health

This being Mental Health Week across the country, the CEO of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association says it’s past time to address how law enforcement responds to calls from people in crisis. A 2019 review found that 70 per cent of deaths within 24 hours of police contact involved a “mental health issue.” [node:read-more:link]

Conspiracy theories have Canadian followers

A parliamentary committee was told April 28 that more than 25 per cent of Canadians, some “with a sympathy toward violence”, evidently believe conspiracy theories. Université de Sherbrooke professor David Morin was explaining a report, based on the results of a national poll last summer, that he is preparing for the Quebec government. He also told the committee that there has been a 250 per cent increase in violent demonstrations in western countries over the past five years and that Canada saw a 25 per cent increase in hate crimes in 2020. [node:read-more:link]

Feds fail to foil RCMP lawsuit

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a government attempt to block a class-action harassment lawsuit against the RCMP. A Federal Court judge certified the suit by officers in 2020 and that was upheld on a previous appeal. The government had insisted that such issues should be handled within the RCMP. [node:read-more:link]

Cadet’s uniform seized

The Canadian Armed Forces has confiscated the uniform of an officer cadet who, while on medical leave and pending his release from the military, called on personnel to disobey what he called an “unlawful order” to assist in distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Leslie Kenderesi was dressed in his uniform when he appeared at an early December anti-lockdown rally in Toronto and called the vaccine a “killer.” [node:read-more:link]

PM urges an end to protest

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on the organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” to wind up their protest which has paralyzed downtown Ottawa for more than a week. They were “trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens' daily lives,” he said during an emergency parliamentary debate Feb. 7. “The people of Ottawa don't deserve to be harassed in their own neighbourhoods.” [node:read-more:link]

The right to “disconnect” from work

Effective today, 65,000 Belgian government employees are free to disconnect from work by not responding to email or phone calls after regular hours as the government addresses what it sees as a blurring of the line between work and personal lives that has occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. There will be backups in place but Public Administration Minister Petra De Sutter believes the new approach will improve efficiency [node:read-more:link]

Conversion therapy illegal in Canada

Criminal Code amendments designed to prohibit widely-discredited “conversion therapy” its adherents promoted as a way to change a person’s sexual orientation through behavioural modification became law today. It was only after previous unsuccessful attempts to outlaw it that Parliament managed to pass enabling legislation late last month. [node:read-more:link]

Wounded Warriors in the civilian world

With some studies suggesting that as many as half of civilian first responders such as firefighters and paramedics suffer from psychological trauma linked to their jobs, Wounded Warriors Canada is collaborating with First Responder Health Services in B.C. on a new digital mental health platform. The partnership is taking its training Canada-wide. [node:read-more:link]

House passes controversial “therapy” bil

Members of Parliament kicked off December with a rare display of unanimity in giving third reading to Bill C-4 only two days after the government introduced it in the House of Commons. Now referred to the Senate, it would amend the Criminal Code to ban widely-discredited “conversion therapy” which attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation or gender identity. [node:read-more:link]

Conversion therapy bill resurrected

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has confirmed that his caucus will have a free vote the government’s Bill C-4, draft legislation introduced Nov. 29. It would ban widely-discredited “conversion therapy” which attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation or gender identity. An earlier version was passed by the House of Commons despite 62 Conservatives having voted against it, but it did not pass the Senate before dissolution of the last Parliament. [node:read-more:link]

Dissatisfaction with federal health funding

As provinces and territories clamour for more federal funding to support their overall health care systems, the debate is heating up on the question of mental health services. The Liberals had promised an initial $4.5 billion over five years in the last election campaign, contingent on compliance with national standards on accessibility but B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the plan is inefficient and threatens healthcare fundamentals. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa challenges RCMP lawsuit

The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked by the government to prevent a $1.1-billion class-action lawsuit against the RCMP which alleges “systemic negligence” in its handling of allegations of bullying and harassment in the workplace. The suit was certified by a Federal Court judge in January 2020 (Docket No. T-1201-18 but in seeking leave to appeal, the government says RCMP members’ claims can be addressed by filing a grievance or harassment complaint, or through an internal RCMP Code of Conduct investigation. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa asked to decriminalize drugs

The B.C. government has requested a federal exemption which would enable the province to decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs. Some 7,700 deaths have been recorded since an overdose crisis was identified in 2016 and Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said Nov. 1 that she hopes decriminalization would increase the likelihood of users seeking treatment. [node:read-more:link]


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