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August 23, 2020

Government of Canada invests more than $11 million in research into post-traumatic stress injuries in public safety personnel

From: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

News release

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is supporting research to better understand, treat, and prevent PTSI in public safety occupations.

February 8, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Public safety personnel – from firefighters and police officers to paramedics and correctional workers, among others – put themselves in harm’s way to keep our communities safe and our country secure. In the course of their daily work keeping our communities safe, public safety personnel are repeatedly exposed to traumatic incidents, which can put them at risk for mental health impacts and severe psychological difficulties, known as post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI).

With more research, we can better determine which policies, programs, and treatments will make the most difference for the mental wellness and resilience of people in public safety occupations. That is why today, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, are highlighting the progress in PTSI research being made through investments by the Government of Canada.

Today, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) released the results of its PTSI Catalyst Grant competition, which will provide 22 one-year grants of up to $150,000, for a total investment of $2.95 million. These grants will serve as a springboard for researchers who are increasing our understanding of how to identify, treat, and prevent PTSI among public safety personnel.

CIHR also recently launched the Team Grants in PTSI competition, which represents a further investment of $8.4 million. This investment will support four-year research projects designed to develop the new research evidence and tools needed to address gaps in PTSI among public safety personnel in Canada. The results of this competition are expected to be available in March 2020.


“The investments we are highlighting today underscore the Government of Canada’s commitment to providing evidence-based solutions to improve the quality of life of the brave men and women who risk their own safety and wellbeing to keep Canadians safe.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“Public safety personnel put themselves in harm’s way to protect Canadians, putting them disproportionately at risk of post-traumatic stress injuries. Our country must do more to protect the mental well-being of public safety officers on-the-job. The initiatives highlighted today will help address gaps in PTSI research and inform long-term plans to support the mental health and well-being of our public safety personnel.”
The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“Today’s announcement emphasizes the incredible power of collaboration among ministries, the research community, CIHR, CIPSRT and stakeholder groups. These investments will stimulate new scientific knowledge on PTSI, and create a national hub for knowledge exchange and coordination that will ultimately drive better mental health outcomes for Canada’s hard-working public safety personnel.”
Dr. Samuel Weiss, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction

“The Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) works to improve the lifetime health and well-being for people directly or indirectly related to public safety personnel, including those on the frontlines, in leadership and support positions, as well as their families and those who have retired. The CIHR Catalyst Grants, with their PTSI focus, will help to advance our capacity to support the mental health of public safety personnel who encounter unique occupational exposures, experiences, and environments all in service of our communities. Ultimately, supporting them has the potential to benefit the lifetime health and well-being of all Canadians.”
Steve Palmer, Executive Director, Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment
Executive Director, Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety, University of Regina

Quick facts

  • Budget 2018 committed $20 million over five years to support a new national research consortium between CIHR and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) to address PTSI among public safety personnel.
  • CIPSRT will act as the national research consortium’s knowledge exchange hub, bringing together researchers funded through these CIHR competitions with all relevant stakeholders in order to coordinate activities and move the knowledge created into active use.
  • Through Budget 2018, the Government is investing a further $10 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, for Public Safety Canada to work with CIPSRT to develop an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy pilot as a means of providing greater access to care and treatment for public safety officers.
  • In addition, the RCMP is taking another important step by investing $10 million in a longitudinal study of the mental health of new recruits. CIPSRT is conducting that work to monitor and track the real-life experiences of officers, and the accumulating consequences of those experiences, over a protracted period of time. The findings will not only help the Force develop appropriate mental wellness and remedial strategies, but also inform other emergency response organizations.
  • Public Safety Canada continues to work closely with a broad stakeholder community, including all levels of government, along with other government departments and associations of first responders to develop a coordinated action plan on post-traumatic stress injuries in support of public safety officers. The Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries is scheduled to be released this spring.


Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Scott Bardsley
Senior Advisor for Communications
Office of the Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada’s health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

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