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News & Press: Advocacy

CAFC represented the fire service at National Roundtable on PTSD

February 1, 2016  
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Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs represented the fire service at a National Roundtable on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder organized by the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.


Regina, SK – January 30th, 2016


After being elected Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, gave Minister Goodale a mandate to create “a co-ordinated national action plan on post-traumatic stress disorder, which disproportionately affects public-safety officers.” As his first action towards fulfilling this mandate, Minister Goodale organized this roundtable to bring together key stakeholders from government, the tri-services and academia to start the conversation. The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC), the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Paramedic Chiefs of Canada, were ask to make a presentation to help define the issue, and identify the gaps and next steps.


In a video message Minister Goodale told participants: “over the years, I have heard repeatedly from the public safety community that more needs to be done for those suffering from PTSD. We routinely ask public safety officers to stand in harm's way to protect and keep Canadians safe, and for that, they deserve the highest level of support and care. […] A national action plan on PTSD will not only support the health and well-being of the public safety community, but will also contribute to the safety of Canada. This issue remains a priority for me personally and for my officials.."


That firefighting is a physically demanding occupation is widely accepted, but greater attention to the mental and emotional stresses of the role is needed, says Paul Boissonneault, CAFC president. “The CAFC applauds the government and Minister Goodale, for putting mental health and wellness at the top of the agenda. Developing a national action plan is a step in the right direction. Lets keep working together.”


In their presentation, Acting Deputy Chief in the Calgary Fire Department, and CAFC board member, Ken McMullen and Dr. Erika Adams, CAFC’s Director of Policy, Research and Communications, argued that the conversation should be refocused on Operational Stress Injuries instead of PTSD exclusively, that the nature of mental health inevitably produces barriers to accessing services, and that volunteer departments have a unique set of challenges that most be recognized.


CAFC is strongly committed to continue working with the Government and key stakeholders to develop long-term sustainable initiatives that enhance and support the abilities of Fire Services across Canada to prepare for, respond to and assist their current and former personnel with their mental wellness needs. Working together will allow us to leverage resources, avoid effort duplication, take advantage of knowledge synergies, and guarantee alignment.


For more information

Roundtable Fact Sheet

Presentation given at the roundtable



Founded in 1909, the CAFC is an independent, non-profit organization representing approximately 3,500 fire departments across Canada. As the voice of fire services in Canada, the CAFC promotes the highest standard of public safety in an ever changing and increasingly complex world. CAFC acts as the national public service association dedicated to reducing the loss of life and property from fire. For more information on the CAFC, visit our website:



Media Contact:

Erika Adams

Director Policy, Research and Communications




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