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Results: 1 - 15 of 18
View Luc Malo Profile
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Dr. Butler-Jones, in the supplementary estimates (C), we read that the Public Health Agency is going to make a transfer to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for developing a national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace. This seems to be a complete intrusion into the constitutional jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces.
Can you tell me why we need to establish a Canada-wide standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace? Also, are you able to tell me who is going to participate in developing this standard?
David Butler-Jones
View David Butler-Jones Profile
David Butler-Jones
2011-03-10 16:32
First, it is a small step for the agency. It will be done together with the Department of Health. It is a way for us to ensure more effective cooperation. The other agencies work well with the provinces, but this is different from the activities of the provinces.
Glenda Yeates
View Glenda Yeates Profile
Glenda Yeates
2011-03-10 16:32
Mr. Chair, I can expand a bit on this issue.
This funding is to support an initiative by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
One of the remits of the Mental Health Commission is to do a mental health strategy for the country. It is working away on that. One of the priorities that came through its consultations was from employers and others who said, “We are not doing a very good job as employers at managing mental health in the workplace. We could use some help and some tools here”.
The funding that is being transferred is in support of this Mental Health Commission initiative to develop a national standard of psychological health and safety in the workplace. This would be a guide to help employers and others deal with what we all acknowledge is a challenge in the workplace. Employers are probably better at dealing with situations when people have cancer or heart disease, than when there are mental health challenges. There's a real opportunity to furnish a tool and a guide that will be useful.
Karol Wenek
View Karol Wenek Profile
Karol Wenek
2011-02-15 12:27
Yes, I'd be happy to.
Just to elaborate a bit on the issue of safety, I think our primary concern is the increased risk of individual performance failure as people's physical and psychological fitness naturally deteriorate over time. We have a little bit of internal evidence that supports this view.
Several years ago, we had what I would call a bit of a spike in the number of medical releases we were seeing in the regular component. I commissioned a study to look at what the correlates were of that spike, what the causal factors were, or some of the antecedents. The primary factor that predicted that spike in medical releases was length of service, particularly past 12 and 15 years of service, and particularly in the harder combat trades, as we term them. There was that increased incidence. Most of the issues were musculoskeletal injuries. In other words, this is all attributable to wear and tear on the body from jumping out of aircraft and riding around in hard vehicles, those kinds of things.
So that was a supporting piece of evidence for that deterioration. We know also that with age, your physical abilities deteriorate somewhat. It's not rapid, it's not the same across people, but there is that kind of deterioration.
In a small fighting force like ours--it is relatively small by world standards--it's important that everybody be capable of carrying the load. That's what the universality of service principle refers to, really. It gives us the capability to rotate individuals and units through operational settings. We can't just send people over there for an indefinite period of time. It would essentially result in fighting those units down. So they have to be rotated, and that means the bench strength has to be there to allow for that rotation.
The risk here is that if you have people who are going to those settings, while they may be prepared to accept the risk to themselves personally, we can't accept the risk that they would pose to others. Unit effectiveness is a function of the collective performance of all of the people on the team. If one individual fails, the team may fail, and that may mean lack of success of the mission or injuries to others.
Don Head
View Don Head Profile
Don Head
2010-10-19 9:02
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the committee for allowing me to appear at a later date than you originally requested. My schedule was quite full, but I'm glad to be here today.
Good morning, and thank you, Mr. Chair and committee members, for the opportunity to discuss how the freeze on departmental budget envelopes and government operations will affect the daily operations of the Correctional Service of Canada.
I'd also like to address the impact on CSC operations that can be expected from the legislation connected with the government's criminal justice initiatives, in particular the Truth in Sentencing Act and the Tackling Violent Crime Act.
The freeze on the Correctional Service of Canada's departmental budget envelope and operations applies to operating budgets only, as you know. Operating budgets will be frozen at the current levels, and the freeze will also apply to 2011-12 fiscal year and 2012-13 fiscal year reference levels.
There is no freeze on wages. CSC employees will receive the salary increase for this year resulting from collective agreements and set at 1.5% by the Expenditure Restraint Act. As with other departments, the Correctional Service of Canada will absorb this increase as well as any increases to salaries and wages in 2011-12 and 2012-13 that result from future collective agreements.
Work is well under way at CSC to improve efficiencies within our operations to pay for these increases. For instance, we have introduced new staff deployment standards at our penitentiaries for our correctional officers. We are also now using computerized rostering systems to ensure that we are efficiently staffing our facilities on a 24/7 basis. This is improving our effectiveness by ensuring that our people know when and where they will be working their shift rotations well in advance. It will also help to reduce our overtime expenditures by more efficiently replacing correctional officers who are absent on training or leave.
We've also improved our integrated human resources and business planning methods to more accurately forecast our staffing and recruitment needs going forward. Because our penitentiaries must be properly staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, we make every effort to maintain our staff complement at appropriate levels. This is an important part of minimizing the overtime that would otherwise be incurred to fill vacant posts in our facilities.
Personnel costs represent our largest expenditure. For fiscal year 2010-11, Correctional Service of Canada's main estimates are approximately $2.5 billion, and personnel expenditures, including salaries and benefits, represent approximately 61% of the budget, or $1.5 billion. The rest is dedicated to operating costs, which represent approximately 25%, $625 million, and capital investments at approximately 14%, $329 million.
It's important to note that 90% of CSC's budget is non-discretionary and quasi-statutory. CSC has fixed costs that it must fund on a continuous basis. These include the provision of food to offenders, the utility costs related to the maintenance of our accommodations, clothing for offenders, and uniforms for our staff. The remaining 10% provides us with some opportunity and flexibility to seek out ways for us to meet the freeze on operating costs. I am confident that we will continue to find improvements in our program delivery that will help us to absorb these costs.
The government's criminal justice initiatives will present some opportunities for CSC as well as some challenges. The primary impact of the legislation will be a significant and sustained increase to the federal offender population over time. This will be particularly evident in the short to mid term.
As the members will know, the Truth in Sentencing Act replaces the two for one credit for time in custody before sentencing to a maximum of one day of credit for each day served in provincial detention. Only under exceptional circumstances may a judge provide a 1.5-day credit. Consequently, many offenders who would have previously received a provincial sentence will now serve a federal sentence of two years or more, and those who would have received a federal sentence will now receive a longer federal sentence.
Normally we would have expected an incarcerated population of about 14,856 by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. This figure is a result of our projections for regular growth, which is set at about 1% for male offenders and about 2.8% for women offenders. However, we are expecting an additional 383 offenders by the end of the 2014 fiscal year as a result of Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act. And with the implementation of Bill C-25, the Truth in Sentencing Act, our analysis is forecasting an increase of 3,445 more offenders, including 182 women, by 2013.
Mr. Chair, this is a considerable increase over such a short period of time. The additional 3,828 offenders resulting from Bill C-2 and Bill C-25, together with our normal projections, represents a total growth of 4,478 inmates in the 2014 fiscal year and an anticipated total penitentiary population of 18,684 offenders by March 31, 2014. This growth, Mr. Chair, well exceeds our existing capacity today.
We are moving quickly to identify the measures required to address these population increases, and we are taking a multi-faceted approach. Several measures are now being developed, including temporary accommodation measures such as double-bunking. We are also now in the process of tendering for the construction of new accommodation units, program space, and support services within existing Correctional Service Canada institutions.
Regarding the expanded use of shared accommodation, I should note that it will be aligned with greater offender accountability. We expect offenders to be out of their cells engaging in programs and making positive efforts to become law-abiding citizens who can contribute to safe communities for all Canadians when they are released. These temporary measures will be implemented in a way that will minimize any adverse impact on front-line service delivery at our institutions. I assure you that with the proper support, any steps we take around budget implications and capacity issues will not jeopardize public safety or the safety of staff or inmates.
With respect to the new units, we can expedite the design and construction process by using proven and refined designs. Furthermore, we are strategically planning expansions at institutions located where we expect the greatest increases. Beyond expanding our facilities, CSC will be improving our program delivery capacity to meet the needs of an increasingly complex and diverse offender population. This includes programming for offenders who require treatment for mental health disorders and addictions, or those who are trying to break from their affiliations with gangs, particularly among our aboriginal offender population.
I should note that we are expecting the largest increase in our prairie region, where we will need 726 more accommodation spaces. As this region is where a majority of our aboriginal offenders are housed, we are currently reviewing our aboriginal corrections strategy to improve our delivery of education and employment training. This will assist in the safe reintegration of our aboriginal offenders back to their home communities.
Of course, there is a cost to all of this. Our current estimates are approximately $2 billion over five years in order to provide sufficient resources to address the additional double-bunking that will occur and to get the new units up and running. This also includes funds to ensure that we continue to provide offenders under our supervision with access to programs.
The assessment of this legislation's impact on CSC will be a long and complex process. As we continually monitor this impact, we will continuously fine-tune our approach to accommodate population increases and adjust our service delivery. We will also seek to connect this short- and medium-term impact with future requirements associated with the aging and inadequate infrastructure at some of our older institutions.
A long-term accommodation plan that will provide a forecast to the year 2018 is expected to be presented for consideration by this spring. As we move forward, we will be consulting with our partners and the communities in which we are located across Canada to ensure that we proceed in a transparent and collaborative fashion.
Of course, with the short- and long-term accommodation measures I've mentioned above comes a necessary increase in our staff complement. As indicated in the most recent report on plans and priorities, CSC is planning to staff an additional 4,119 positions across Canada over the next three years. This increase will enhance our capacity to carry out our mandate, help in our work with offenders, and improve our public safety results. I am very sensitive to the possible effects of an offender population increase on the work and safety of my staff in our penitentiaries and parole offices, whether they are existing staff or new hires. But I'm also very aware of, and extremely confident in, the commitment and ability of my employees to deliver high-quality correctional services that produce good public safety results for Canadians. I am speaking about our correctional and parole officers, our vocational and program staff, our health care professionals, and our support staff and management teams across the country. These are dedicated people, and the additional staff who will be added over the coming years will significantly help those who are on the ground today working with offenders.
We have been modernizing the way we select and train our correctional officers and other staff, and we work together with our union partners to make sure we are hiring the best-suited people who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others and the safety of their communities.
While it's clear that the criminal justice legislation and the spending freeze will pose some challenges, I am confident that the Correctional Service of Canada will successfully adapt and continue to provide good public safety results for all Canadians.
Mr. Chair, in closing, I wish to thank you for this opportunity to speak to the committee, and I welcome any questions you may have today.
Paulette Smith
View Paulette Smith Profile
Paulette Smith
2010-03-23 9:18
Good morning.
I have provided a photo of my husband, whose suicide was a direct result of the failure within the health service of the RCMP. My husband responded to a move to the north, and at no time during this time was he interviewed psychologically prior to leaving. He responded to an interview. He came home with a transfer paper, and at that time he had been transferred on three separate occasions in his career of 18-plus years, so he knew what a transfer paper was.
He indicated to me that he thought he had been transferred, and I said, “Well, that's not possible, because we both would have had to go through a number of psychological interviews.” I have had friends go to the north as well, since I am an RN. I said, “Make sure that you give me lots of notice, because I too am busy in my work.”
He proceeded to go to the interview and discuss a position that was possibly available. At no time was he interviewed, but he was promoted to go to the north. I was not given a psychological interview at all. As a spouse, I was given a piece of paper and sent home to review it and send it on.
We proceeded to the north. At that time the conditions were unbelievable in the place where we went. Support was minimal in a number of factors. He reached out and said, “I can't do this any more. I don't know what is wrong with me. I don't know what is wrong with me.”
He contacted his division supervisor. We then went to K Division headquarters in Edmonton. We met with psychological professionals and force physicians. The psychological physician was not within the force; she was an outsourced member. During the interview, I was with my husband at all times. I made sure of that. Even if I wasn't invited, I made myself invited.
Paul responded to a question that is mandatory. He was asked if he had any issues with self-harm or harm to others, and his response to the question of suicide was yes. Her response was, “You have a few issues we have to talk about.” He was asked where his family was. He said it was down east in Ottawa and Nova Scotia. She said, “Fine, I'll refer you to Ottawa.”
We went on to Ottawa. It took some time for the appointment to actually get made to go forward. We then went in. The doctor indicated within an hour and a half over a two-day period that nothing was wrong with my husband, but indeed he was going about this blindly. He had not been given my husband's work file, and I said, “Dr. So-and-so, I am a nurse. How can you be evaluating us with no file?”
His response was that it was never given to him. He said this was common. He said, “I go to the north on a monthly basis for a period of five days a month.” He works for three days a week. He is not a member, nor does he know anything about being a member.
Within a two-day period, my husband was told that there was nothing wrong with him. He was told, “You are normal.” He walked out and said, “Dear, I'm normal.”
We were posted to Ottawa. We bought a home, and while signing the papers for the home, we received a call to come and pick up his side arm. Within three days he took his life. We were told that he was normal, that nothing was wrong.
Throughout his career, as you see.... You may not be able to tell from his photo, but my husband was six feet three inches and 265 pounds. He was a gentle giant. He never asked for help until then, and the resources were not there. The people we met were not trained to recognize what was wrong with him. He didn't know what was wrong with him.
When we sat with the Ottawa psychologist, Paul opened up completely. “Okay, just a sec,” he said, “we'll start.” Paul had no issues in opening up and reiterating what was going on, but not necessarily what was wrong with him. To be told by one psychologist that you have a few issues, and to answer “yes” to suicide....
I'm not a member, but I am a member's wife. At no point in time did the psychologist take me aside, for the sake of 15 minutes, and say, “Mrs. Smith, I have grave concern” or “I have concern. These are the things I want you to watch for.” I'm not sure why she didn't, but when the response to a mental health issue and burnout is “yes” to suicide, I don't think it leaves much of a question of diagnosis.
As a nurse, I think we can all identify with someone breaking an arm. We have tools to identify that. We bring you into emergency. We do an assessment. We take photos and X-rays. We determine that the arm is broken, that the bone is fractured. We put on a cast. We assess you. You come back in four to six weeks, and we do another assessment. We have tools to assess for mental health issues as well, and for burnout.
Members, my husband is not the only one. There are many members. As Mr. Brown said, they self-medicate through abuse of drugs and alcohol and through many other ways as well.
Paul didn't choose to do that, obviously. I think his feeling was to suck it up, and that was the feeling that was given to him through the actions and the treatment within the health issues. That was what he was given to deal with this issue. He had none. It was, “Turn around and go out the door. You're fine. Go back to work.” He was told, as I sat in the office, that he was fit for duty. This was from a psychologist who works on contract for three days a week.
I ask you to consider what these men have to say, realizing that first-line personnel--RCMP, firefighters, EMTs, persons of that sort--are all high-stress individuals in high-stress jobs, and not everyone deals with their issues in the same way.
My husband paid the ultimate price. When he asked for help, it wasn't there. It was not provided. I am not quite sure why, in the total sense, but he did everything he could do.
Thank you.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Chair, I'd be interested in access to a copy of that.
I have a couple of questions with respect to the very difficult testimony by Madam Smith. To take it from the personal story to more of a general question, someone in the RCMP, perhaps, could tell us whether the professional resources—the psychologists who would be trained to work with people, to identify and support people having mental health challenges and post-traumatic stress disorder—are the right kind of resources available. Or is this a general gap, such that there may not be the kinds of professionals who can really assist in a situation like that?
Rich Boughen
View Rich Boughen Profile
Rich Boughen
2010-03-23 9:53
The part of the question that I think you hit on that is so important is that there is a tremendous diversity of experiences. Several years ago the military came upon the term OSI, meaning operational stress injury. We've adapted that because it works for us. Without being military, I don't want to float into a jurisdiction that I'm not versed in, but the experiences of the military in their everyday work are much different from ours. When the military deploy, they are in it for a period of time. They're deployed into a zone, and it might be for six months or three months or a year, depending.
For the policing experience I'll be RCMP-specific, but I think it touches on all policing throughout the world, or in Canada for sure. Every time we put on a uniform, we are at work, so coming across tragic events--car accidents, homicides, child abuse--is a daily occurrence. We have just begun learning in the recent past that those things take their toll. We are learning about things such as secondary trauma, which is viewing things or hearing about things that you can do nothing about. It's the unfixable suffering, the deep pain that we as police officers encounter every day. We're just recognizing that although it might not meet the definition in the DSM of what post-traumatic stress disorder is, the symptoms and symptomatologies are very similar. There is sleep disorder; there is substance abuse; there is anxiety, depression, mood swings, and a whole bunch of behavioural changes.
One of our challenges is finding health care professionals who get that. Quite frankly, I don't think there are a whole lot of what are called trauma psychologists. We are very fortunate in our organization to have Staff Sergeant Jeff Morley, who is in E Division. I work with him, and he is an unusual person in that he is also a registered counselling psychologist. He understands that. We've taken some strides in dealing with the prevention of these types of injuries, and at some point, should it please the committee, I can talk about them.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
I appreciate your comments about efficiencies.
I have two more questions. I'll ask them both. One would be about outcomes. Have you done some work on outcomes?
I was recently at a function where I believe you received a mental health award for some of the work that was being done. Is that a new concept? I wonder if you could briefly respond to that.
H.W. Jung
View H.W. Jung Profile
H.W. Jung
2010-03-23 10:30
The outcome measure, as you know, is a sort of holy grail of the health care sector. Outcome is very difficult to manage. We're going to have a better handle on it as soon as the last phase of our health electronic system is implemented. Then we'll be able to extract data to see whether or not we're making a big difference in hypertension, diabetes, and so on. That is going to be coming.
In terms of the satisfaction rate and basically of feedback from physicians, I think we are having a much greater effect, particularly when it comes to mental health. I think we've made some enormous strides over the last several years in providing good mental health. I would dare to say that I think Canadian Forces is probably in the leadership role in Canada in providing holistic, integrated, multidisciplinary mental health.
In terms of our model, we look at it as involving a three-pronged approach. You have to have a good and effective mental health care treatment system. If you cannot provide good care, then who's going to come to you? Two, you have to have a good supportive leadership. Leadership in the military in many ways determines the culture of the organization. As you know, we've done an enormous amount of work in education for that leadership. The Chief of the Defence Staff recently launched the “Be the Difference” campaign. Mental health issues are discussed openly, more than ever, I suspect, in any other society in Canada. The third one is aware and engaged members or patients.
You have to have all three—if you like, a three-legged stool, and if one of them is short, it's going to tip. I think we're working on all three facets simultaneously right now.
View Nicolas Dufour Profile
We have talked a lot about prevention. Ms. Smith told us there was a kind of wall of shame to get over, for example, to be able to talk to a psychologist or get access to the tools to get through it. We have talked a lot about barriers. I would like to know, in your opinion, at the RCMP, what do these barriers look like that prevent your members from talking to psychologists.
Paulette Smith
View Paulette Smith Profile
Paulette Smith
2010-03-23 10:36
From being a wife and observing my husband--we were married for five and a half years, and obviously I'm not a member--their training makes them so stoic. I think they feel--and I'll use the term Mr. Brown used earlier in his speech--that they must suck it up; that speaking beyond the uniform shows weakness, and that you are maybe not able to handle a situation.
It becomes a little harder when you are six foot three and 265 pounds, versus maybe of smaller stature. As well, your superiors, your staff sergeant, your immediate supervisors, and staff in your detachment maybe go to you a bit more because you are a larger person and you tend to handle things well, versus other members. You seldom complain, because that's not your nature. I'll add that my husband was from a military family. His father was a colonel, so he knew all about what military meant and what the uniform meant. He was very proud to be a member. I know I've never said that, but he really was. Even at the end he still was.
I feel that it's almost in them as members. It's in the training and in what they're presented with on a daily basis. It's just the way the force is. You are to be strong and show strength, because you are protecting everyone else. We're forgetting that the people behind the uniforms are fathers and sons, that they have children and feelings.
They may see a child of 18 months being administered CPR and later dying, and rush the parent through at 150 kilometres per hour on a Sunday evening. But no treatment is given to them; no follow-up. They may pick up a young girl of 19 years of age who was brutally murdered, and put her in a body bag, and for over two years work with a major crime unit when it's not their position to do that--and never receive follow-up. They need help, and we need you to help them. The members are crying in their own way, telling people they need help, and I think the only way to do that is through funding.
They need to feel at ease when they're speaking to their superiors. They need to have conferences where they're told what they may be exposed to, and what they may encounter over their careers. It should be brought down to the ground level when they're training and they should be told, “Guys and girls, this is it. This is the job and what it entails. You will see things that normal people, on an everyday level, will not see. But we will follow through and we will take care of you, as we should. This is what we have in place for you. When you feel something different or wonder why you're not sleeping or eating, feel free to come to us and speak of that. Get it off your chest.” That's all it takes. It's prevention.
View Kirsty Duncan Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you all.
I appreciate that Mr. Stoffer recognized everyone.
I'd like to particularly recognize Ms. Smith. You had a very difficult job to do today. It took tremendous courage, and I thank you for sharing about your husband. I will keep his picture--the gentle giant with the beautiful smile. So thank you.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Ms. Kirsty Duncan: I'm really concerned about this issue, and I'd like to ask how many mental health professionals are currently employed by the RCMP.
Rich Boughen
View Rich Boughen Profile
Rich Boughen
2010-03-23 10:49
There are approximately 14, one per division, more or less. But again, they're not psychologists who offer treatment. They are people who are more in the area of looking at trends for things like undercover operations, integrated child exploitation units, assessing those particular people in high-risk areas.
View Greg Rickford Profile
View Greg Rickford Profile
2010-03-23 10:54
Thank you, Chair.
I appreciate the questions of my colleague. I think it's important to understand some of the process and steps that people take.
Just by way of introduction, I spent eight years as a registered nurse living and working in isolated and remote first nations communities across Canada, at the very least northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and across the Arctic. I have a rich understanding of the experiences one goes through in taking an assignment in those communities. I have to say, Mrs. Smith, that I have very close friends who are members, and I share some of your concerns, particularly with the culture of stoicism that you referred to and the fine line between bravery and an ability to come forward with some of the things that you see. In nursing, not unlike the RCMP, we have come into a variety of different things. Of course, there's always a nexus between our personal and professional issues and the counter-transference between those two.
Having said that, my questions may be focused more with Mr. Tousignant around the wellness program. I just want to very briefly talk about what nurses have experienced in the north and how they've come to respond. It seems to me, based on what Mrs. Smith is talking about, there may be some structural defects in how emergencies or traumatic scenarios are dealt with that prevent officers from coming forward. If I can shed a little bit of light on our own experience, it's actually mandatory that we participate in debriefing programs or sessions by phone, or if the situation necessitates it, with a counsellor. Obviously there's a grade on which they're evaluated, but it can be highly subjective and highly individualized based on what the person has seen and how they respond to that.
Furthermore, there are other scenarios that require a mandatory group debriefing, the entire unit in this case. The entire nursing station staff converge on the basis of what transpired. It deals not just with the incident itself but with how the group interacted, things they feel they could have done better. Inevitably, that scenario rises again there or in some other station, and most of us get moved on over the course of our career. I think one of the cornerstones there is that it's built right into our operation.
Another cornerstone would be confidentiality: the real ability of the member, or in this case of the nurse, to be able to go in confidence and actually make disclosures because these kinds of things can sometimes trigger or manifest issues that you have in your other life. As I said, I talked about a nexus between them and prevalences of the use of alcohol—certainly maybe not when you're in the community but binge drinking when you've left the community—or social adjustment disorders with your family or large groups when you get out.
At risk of rambling on here, I'm just wondering whether you've contemplated some of those features in this wellness program, or foundationally speaking, some of these around it. I believe that they are the most important pieces that actually have us come through. I'm not terribly comfortable in a group therapy session, although I have been in one, but for the benefit of my colleagues, I thought of at least one case of a shooting where a murder was the outcome that it was productive for us as a group dynamic, more so than individually. I'll stop there and maybe you could just talk about it.
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