A retired RCMP officer from Bath has filed a complaint with the Auditor General of Canada demanding members of the federal police force have access to more mental health treatment programs.
Eric Rebiere, 54, who in 2006 left the police force after 24 years, said the federal government has refused to fund treatment for RCMP officers suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other occupational stress injuries (OSI).
Rebiere said he plans to follow his complaint to the auditor general with a similar submission to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
“It is a human rights issue. You can’t put money ahead of lives,” Rebiere said.
“Like the military, Canada has a moral obligation to take care of the RCMP, injured officers and veterans.”
Rebiere said he is a victim of what he describes as a pattern of RCMP veterans being denied treatment for occupational stress injuries.
“My complaint is that Prime Minister Harper, the Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews and the RCMP management in particular the former Commissioner Mr. Elliot have been negligent in providing the funding needed to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other OSIs in the RCMP,” Rebiere wrote in his complaint to the Auditor General.
“Mr. Harper, Vic Toews, Commissioner Elliot know that PTSD exists in the RCMP and has for a very long time,” said Rebiere, who retired from the RCMP two years after being diagnosed with PTSD linked to his NATO policing missions in Croatia and Kosovo.
The effects of PTSD brought an early end to Rebiere’s policing career.
“I was a liability because my head wasn’t in the game anymore because of my injury,” he said.
“I had to pull myself off the road on several occasions because I was fearing that I was going to kill or hurt someone in the public.
“I was a liability to the public. I was a liability to myself and I was a liability to my fellow officers.”
Rebiere said he wants the federal government to allow RCMP officers access to a program similar to the Canadian Force’s Occupational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program.
Rebiere credits the OSISS program in Kingston for saving his life, breaking him out of a cycle of isolation and depression after he left the RCMP.
Earlier this year, the RCMP announced it was abandoning two-year old plans to establish its own OSI treatment program, similar to the Canadian Force’s OSISS.
Established in 2001, OSISS is a peer-support network that helps military personnel and their families cope with stress injuries, such as post traumatic stress disorder. The program connects those suffering from stress injuries with veterans who have recovered sufficiently to help others…..Continue reading→