Ombudsman assessing new complaints about OPP handling of officers’ operational stress injuries and suicide

Ombudsman assessing new complaints about OPP handling of officers’ operational stress injuries and suicide

September 18, 2018

18 September, 2018

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé has directed staff to assess new complaints and issues related to suicides and operational stress injuries among Ontario Provincial Police officers, to determine whether or not a follow-up investigation is warranted.

TORONTO (September 18, 2018) – Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé has directed staff to assess new complaints and issues related to suicides and operational stress injuries among Ontario Provincial Police officers, to determine whether or not a follow-up investigation is warranted.

“As I learned recently of the tragic deaths of three more OPP officers by suicide, I was left wondering whether it was time for my office to follow up on our 2012 systemic investigation,” Mr. Dubé said. “We have begun with preliminary research and encourage people affected by the issue of operational stress injuries in the OPP to come forward with their stories as we lay the groundwork for a possible investigation.”

In 2012, the Ombudsman’s office conducted an in-depth systemic investigation into how the OPP and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services were addressing operational stress injuries affecting police officers. The resulting 155-page report, In the Line of Duty, revealed more officers had died by suicide over the previous 23 years than were killed doing police work.

The OPP and Ministry accepted all 34 of the report’s recommendations, including that the OPP enhance its employee support and assistance programs, provide immediate referrals for officers and relatives who need help, and collect data on operational stress injury claims and suicides.

“We have been in contact with the OPP and Ministry leadership, and acknowledge that the OPP Commissioner has announced an internal mental health review, but I think everyone agrees that this life-and-death issue is vitally important; there is no such thing as too many people looking for solutions to this,” Mr. Dubé said. “The assessment will involve speaking to complainants, the OPP and Ministry officials, police associations and other sources.”

Anyone who has information relevant to this issue is asked to contact the Ombudsman’s office through the online complaint form, or by phone (1-800-263-1830) or email (info@ombudsman.on.ca).

If an investigation is launched, both the OPP and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services will be notified, and the Ombudsman will announce it publicly. The assessment will be completed as quickly as possible, Mr. Dubé said.

The Ombudsman is an independent, impartial Officer of the Legislature who resolves and investigates more than 20,000 public complaints per year about the administrative conduct of provincial government bodies, municipalities, universities and school boards.


For more information, please contact:
Linda Williamson, Director of Communications
lwilliamson@ombudsman.on.ca - 416-586-3426