The sworn and civilian employees who comprise the Canadian police and related community safety and well-being (CSWB) sectors are slowly emerging from a two-and-a-half-year period unlike any other in their collective experience. While all Canadians have also experienced the dual challenges of a global pandemic amid the heightened prominence of long-standing social equity issues, all human service providers have had the additional challenge of continuing to serve others under uniquely demanding conditions at work and at home. In addition, during this same period, perhaps more than any other public service sector, policing has faced a steep increase in public and media scrutiny, many volatile and high-profile circumstances, and a perceived erosion of already fragile trust with many communities and interests.
The mental health and general wellness issues facing police were already the topic of considerable and rapidly growing attention prior to 2020. The CACP hosted two national conferences on these issues in 2015 and 2017. Each of these events led to notable advances in the national awareness, study and expanded programming related to police employee wellness.
The full effect of this recent period upon the sector and its employees remains highly anecdotal at this stage. However, it is safe to assume that the momentum behind many promising initiatives has been affected to a considerable degree, while the underlying conditions have worsened to acute levels. Staffing gaps, degraded workplace morale, work-life balance challenges, and general health conditions have combined with unprecedented levels of fatigue, anxiety, and other mental health conditions to place all employees at a heightened risk, while the sector itself also faces existential challenges in the public trust that is essential to the Canadian policing model.
Conference Goals and Objectives:
The over-arching goal of this Wellness Check Conference will be to:
Establish a renewed national baseline upon which to build continued developments in the policies, practices and knowledge bases for improving mental health and general wellness outcomes for police service employees, their families, and their CSWB partners; to examine and remedy inequities experienced in wellness outcomes and available services; to restore momentum to the most promising prior initiatives; and, to highlight and advance innovative forward strategies based on new lessons learned.
Additional conference objectives include:
Who Should Attend?
The target audience for registered delegates is expected to be wide and diverse, and is likely to include: