It is important to note that dozens of RCMP Members whose evidence has been requested by the Commission have participated in lengthy recorded interviews with Commission staff, which form the basis of the Commission’s foundational documents. Full transcripts of the Member statements will be released publicly by the MCC as exhibits when the relevant Foundational Document is posted to the website. Several are already available.
The Members’ statements, along with notes, reports, GPS logs, radio transcripts and other evidence related to their involvement in the response to the mass casualty were disclosed by the RCMP to the Commission and shared with all participants. The Commission’s foundational documents, based on Member interviews and RCMP disclosure, have already been the subject of in-depth review and discussion in working meetings between the Commission and participants, which took place over several weeks in the fall of 2021, before being finalized and presented by the Commission.
Despite comments made by other participants in the hearings and in the media, participants have been clearly and consistently communicated to about timelines and established processes.
The NPF will continue to facilitate the full cooperation of its Members with the Commission’s work.
Mass Casualty Commission Trauma-related obligations:
The Orders in Council issued by the Government of Canada and Government of Nova Scotia directed the Mass Casualty Commission:
- to be guided by restorative principles in order to do no further harm, be trauma-informed and be attentive to the needs of and impacts on those most directly affected and harmed; and
- to give particular consideration to any persons or groups that may have been differentially impacted by the tragedy.
The Commission has defined the focus of a “trauma-informed approach” as “to minimize the potential for further harm and re-traumatization, and to enhance safety, control and resilience.”
Mental Health Injuries and RCMP
RCMP Members, through the course of their daily work, experience much greater exposure to traumatic events and related mental health injuries, than the general public. Given this, RCMP Members who responded to the active shooter event and subsequent investigations would already be at risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries from the mass casualty event.
While Dr. Carleton’s report was not accepted into evidence and is therefore not public, the following facts are important and relevant.
A 2017 study conducted by the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) found that 52% of RCMP Members self-reported experiencing a mental health disorder;
- Stigma around reporting and seeking treatment for mental health injuries remains high among police, and too often dissuades injured Members from self-identifying or seeking the treatment they need;
- The current 45% frequency of mental health disorders among public safety personnel is much higher than the 10% frequency of diagnosed mental disorders in the general population.
- The average adult will experience 8 to 10 traumatic events over the course of their lifetime, compared to between 800 to 1,000 for police over their career.
The almost 100 Members involved in the active response of April 18 and 19, 2020, and the ensuing investigations, experienced unprecedented stress, violence, and trauma at a scale unlike any previously experienced by the public or law enforcement in Canada.
The protracted nature of the subsequent media coverage, the investigation, and vocational requirements to remain engaged with the Mass Casualty Commission would have further increased the risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Injury.