New research support for post-traumatic stress injuries in public safety personnel

News release

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research launches competition to fund research that aims to treat, prevent PTSI in those who keep our communities safe

July 26, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Government of Canada is committed to looking after those who put their safety at risk to protect our communities.

Canadian public safety personnel play a vital role in keeping our communities and our nation safe. Firefighters, police officers, paramedics, search and rescue personnel, correctional services workers, border services officers, intelligence analysts, volunteers and other public safety officers work in hazardous, volatile and traumatic environments, which can significantly impact their mental health and lead to severe psychological difficulties, known as post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI).

To support the mental health of Canada’s public safety personnel, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced today the launch of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) catalyst grants for PTSI research in public safety personnel.

This $2.25 million investment will fund up to 15 research projects designed to strengthen and expand the evidence base needed to inform the development of new policies and programs that improve the mental wellness and resilience of public safety personnel. Projects will focus on better understanding, identifying, mitigating and preventing PTSI in public safety occupations.


“The Government of Canada is incredibly proud to support the very Canadians who keep our communities safe every day. This contribution to PTSI research will ensure public safety personnel have the resources and treatments necessary to live healthy and rewarding lives.” 
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“Public safety personnel put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe, and we must do more to support their mental health and well-being. I’m pleased to see CIHR funding PTSI research that will further improve our understanding of this critical priority and help ensure public safety officers across the country have the support they need.”
The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“Post-traumatic stress injuries are complex conditions that affect public safety personnel in a variety of workplaces. Today’s announcement is the first step in addressing the knowledge gap around understanding PTSI in these occupational groups, and finding treatments that provide Canada’s public safety personnel with the support they need.”
Michel Perron, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Quick facts

  • Catalyst grants are short-term grants designed to provide seed funding for new research perspectives; they lay the groundwork for larger, longer-term research projects.

  • Catalyst grants are just the beginning. Budget 2018 proposed to provide $20 million over five years to support a new research consortium between CIHR and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) to address PTSI among public safety personnel.

  • Through Budget 2018, the Government of Canada also proposed to invest $10 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, for Public Safety Canada to work with CIPSRT to develop an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy pilot as a means of providing greater access to care and treatment for public safety officers.

  • In June, CIHR launched a funding competition with up to $4.32 million available from the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada to study the effectiveness and safety of cannabis as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder among Canadian Armed Forces personnel and veterans.

  • Public Safety Canada (PS) 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.

Associated links


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

Scott Bardsley
Office of the Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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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