Summary of the Evaluation of the Initiatives to Address Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI) Among Public Safety Officers
About the Program
Public safety officers play a critical role in keeping Canadians safe, which often exposes them to traumatic incidents that can lead to post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). Recognizing the need to support the mental health of public safety officers, the Government of Canada announced “Supporting Canada’s Public Safety Personnel: An Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries” in April 2019. Under this Action Plan, Public Safety Canada funded the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) at the University of Regina to develop and pilot an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT) pilot for public safety officers, as well as establish a Knowledge Exchange Hub for research related to PTSI among public safety officers.
What We Examined
The evaluation covered the Initiatives’ activities under the Contribution Agreement with CIPSRT from January 2019, when the agreement was signed, to April 2022.
- PTSI is a serious issue among the public safety community, and there is a continued need for the type of programming and research provided by the Initiatives. Research related to PTSI and public safety officers – its prevalence, its impacts, what treatments are efficacious – is in its early stages with numerous gaps in knowledge that remain to be filled. CIPSRT addresses a need by providing a national research hub that has public safety officers’ mental health as its focus.
- The ICBT pilot has a unique set of attributes, including being designed for public safety officers, using clinicians that specialize in treating trauma in the public safety setting, being confidential, and being free to access.
- The CIPSRT Hub has a growing reputation as a hub for public safety officer mental health research and has made strides in facilitating knowledge translation and mobilization, although knowledge products could be made more accessible to the public safety community in terms of content and delivery.
- The ICBT pilot’s early results indicate that it is effective in assisting public safety officers who are experiencing the effects of trauma, and there is a desire to see it expand to other jurisdictions.
- More could be done to maximize the potential of each Initiative by increasing awareness of them and broadening their reach within the public safety and research communities. The nature of the Initiatives mean that there are many opportunities to incorporate GBA Plus. The current performance measurement processes could be strengthened to allow for a more fulsome assessment of progress.
The Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch, should, as part of renewed/continued funding:
- Explore methods to support the sustainability and expansion of the ICBT pilot by collaborating and coordinating with provinces, territories, and relevant organizations.
- Ensure resources provided to CIPSRT are sufficient for the communication and dissemination of knowledge products and consider working with federal partners (e.g., Statistics Canada) to support the development of a national baseline of information.
- Revisit and revise the current approach to performance measurement, including the development of a logic model, a performance measurement framework, and an approach that better incorporates GBA Plus.
- Date modified: