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Ontario Launches Bereavement Support Program for Families of Fallen Public Safety Personnel

In a move to address the critical mental health needs of families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty, the Ontario government has launched a Bereavement Support Program. With an investment exceeding $3 million, this initiative aims to provide rapid access to mental health support services for families of first responders and public safety personnel who have died while serving the community.

The program, titled the Ontario Immediate Family Wellness Program, will offer free bereavement counseling for up to two years following the loss of a loved one. This support is extended to partners, parents, siblings, and children of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, ambulance communications officers, and adult provincial correctional services employees.

Under this program, family members can avail themselves of mental health services such as crisis support, counseling, and therapy, accessible through phone or online channels. The support structure comprises a three-step care model that includes crisis and care planning, comprehensive mental health services, and proactive care, ensuring that families receive holistic support tailored to their needs.

The announcement has garnered widespread praise from various stakeholders, including government officials and organizations representing first responders. Michael Kerzner, the Solicitor General, emphasized the government’s dedication to ensuring families have access to critical mental health support during their time of need. Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, echoed this sentiment, stressing the importance of providing compassionate support to the loved ones of fallen public safety personnel.

Members of organizations representing first responders, such as the Survivors of Law Enforcement and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, also expressed gratitude for the government’s recognition of the sacrifices made by these families. They welcomed the initiative as a crucial step towards addressing the unique mental health challenges faced by those affected by the loss of a loved one in the line of duty.

This announcement aligns with the Ontario government’s broader commitment to investing in mental health and addictions care. It underscores the government’s dedication to building a world-class mental health and addictions system, as articulated in the Roadmap to Wellness plan and Budget 2024’s focus on expanding mental health services and programs.


The launch of the Bereavement Support Program marks a significant milestone in Ontario’s efforts to prioritize the mental health and well-being of families impacted by the loss of a loved one in the public safety sector. By providing accessible and comprehensive support services, the government is not only honoring the sacrifices made by these frontline heroes but also acknowledging the profound impact their service has on their families. This initiative underscores the importance of addressing mental health needs within our communities and represents a step forward in building a more resilient and compassionate society.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at

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