Mental Health

New Governor General sworn in

Mary Simon, an Inuk from northern Quebec, was sworn in as Canada’s 30th Governor General, the first indigenous vice-regal appointee. In a ceremony held in the Senate chamber, she pledged to use her role to work against climate change, advocate for mental health and work toward reconciliation. “I have heard from Canadians who describe a renewed sense of possibility for our country and hope that I can bring people together," she said. [node:read-more:link]

Children’s remains found in B.C. school

Two days after the remains of 215 children were found buried near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., the federal has directed that flags on all federal buildings across the country be flown at half-mast. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision on social media May 30. [node:read-more:link]

Suspended police officer commits suicide

An Ottawa Police Service officer who had been suspended after being notified of a disciplinary investigation, has committed suicide. His death comes as the service has attempted to improve officer mental health and wellbeing while grappling with a year of repeated misconduct allegations. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP mental health program faulted

An internal RCMP report on the suicide of one of its officers has concluded that the federal policy service lacks a strategy for monitoring and detecting potential problems. The report was on the death of Const Jean-Pascal Nolin in Ottawa in March 2016, more than a year after he participated in the police response to shootings on Parliament Hill in 2014. [node:read-more:link]

Mounties tackling cultural bias

The RCMP says it is considering revisions to its entrance exam in an attempt to address cultural biases and “outdated criteria.” Dealing with what has been described as racism and a “toxic culture” in its ranks, it has posted a tender for a contractor to provide screening services. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. suicide study

U.S. government departments and agencies have been tasked with developing a plan to address mental health issues exacerbated by COVID-19. The White House has proposed a an “all-of-government” approach to the pandemic’s impact on all vulnerable populations. [node:read-more:link]

Suicide 9-8-8 closer to reality

An Opposition motion to set up a national suicide prevention helpline has been unanimously approved in the House of Commons. As proposed by B.C. Conservative MP Todd Doherty and if endorsed by the Senate, the 9-8-8- helpline would consolidate all jurisdictions’ suicide crisis numbers. [node:read-more:link]

Covid-19 response fund announced

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 11 March that the federal government is “pulling out all the stops” by setting up a $1-billion fund to address the potential continued spread of Covid-19. The total includes $275 million for more research, including vaccine development and, among other things, the one-week waiting period for employment insurance is being waived. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: MP joins lockdown protest

Toronto Conservative MP David Sweet, first elected in 2005 and not planning to run again, has joined a dissident Ontario provincial politician’s campaign against COVID-19 lockdowns. Announcing his decision at a March 3 news conference with Roman Baber, an Independent first elected to the legislature in 2016, Sweet said that “lockdowns, by their nature, are a threat to mental health.” [node:read-more:link]

Assisted dying bill supported

The House of Commons was able to pass revised draft legislation designed to expand access to medical assistance in dying when the minority Liberal government was supported by the Bloc Québécois in a March 11 vote. The Conservatives, New Democrats and two of three Green MPs voted against Bill C-7, which the Senate approved last month with major amendments to the government’s original draft. [node:read-more:link]

Assisted dying bill now law

Federal legislation governing eligibility for medically assisted death, eliminating a requirement for final consent before the procedure, has received Royal Assent. Now anyone who is suffering but not facing imminent death, can apply for medical assistance after assessment and counseling. [node:read-more:link]

No anonymity for violent offenders?

The Alberta government has introduced draft legislation in an unprecedented move to prevent some violent offenders from legally changing their names. The president of the Canadian Prison Law Association said March 21 that Bill 61 “probably” intrudes on federal criminal law jurisdiction and does not consider individuals’ rehabilitation. [node:read-more:link]


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