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Military continues sex-misconduct fight with new guide for members, commanders

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OTTAWA — The Canadian Forces have a new manual on how to respond to sexual misconduct, aiming to close many of the gaps identified in the military’s policies on abuse in its ranks.

But some concerns remain unaddressed — including the “duty to report” regulation, which critics say discourages victims from seeking support if they aren’t ready or willing to begin a formal complaint.

The information in the 100-page document was previously spread in many places, which a Defence Department assessment published in February cited as a big reason many service members were confused and uncertain about the issue.

Some had only a vague understanding of what constituted inappropriate behaviour and what to do when an incident occurred, including how to support victims.

The new manual, which was developed in consultation with the military’s sexual-misconduct response centre (a counselling-oriented agency outside the chain of command) and a group of outside experts, goes to great pains to address the latter question in particular.

One of the first sections talks about how and why some people affected by sexual misconduct prefer to be called “victims,” others want to be referred to as “survivors,” and still others don’t like either identifier.

It also spells out the roles, responsibilities and training available for every service member as well as the additional responsibilities that commanding officers have in supporting victims and investigating incidents.

In a report last November, auditor general Michael Ferguson found many victims were not properly supported when they did speak up because of gaps in the services available and a lack of suitable training and policies.

To that end, commanders are also being given a new handout to help them wrap their heads around how sexual-misconduct cases are to be treated step by step — with a reminder at every step to check in with victims.

Those check-ins are not to be one-way updates, either, but opportunities to make sure each victim is getting the support needed and has input into how the case is handled.

The sexual-misconduct response centre is also working on plans to provide case workers, or victim-liaison officers, to service members affected by sexual misconduct.

But the “duty to report” regulation remains. It compels military members to report inappropriate or criminal behaviour, sexual or not, and begins a formal complaint process.

Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance has said the idea is to require anyone who learns of sexual misconduct to tell authorities so cases don’t get hidden, but the effect can be to drag them into the open against victims’ wishes. Ferguson and former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps, who conducted an explosive analysis of the extent of sexual misconduct in the Forces in 2015, have criticized the policy as actually discouraging victims from coming forward.

Vance has said the military is looking at ways to maintain the requirement while better protecting victims.

Ferguson also warned that military police often failed to provide information to victims about supports they can use or give them updates on cases, and there were concerns about a lack of training for chaplains and military health-care providers to help victims.

The federal victims’ ombudsman has also raised concerns about proposed legislation around victims’ rights in the military justice system, specifically that it does not require military police, prosecutors and others to inform victims that they have rights.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Community

Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task

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Man with sad face drawing.

Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task

Duane (not his real name) shared, “I have dealt with my depression on my own for over 15 years, with the aid of anti-depressant drugs. I wasn’t even aware of the anxiety issues until they were pointed out to me just last year. Approximately 4 years ago I did seek therapy during one particularly low period in my mood. I carried on until April of last year when I had a suicide attempt that showed me I need additional help from outside resources including Mental Health, Red Deer PCN, and my company EFAP. Seeing how my suicide attempt impacted my immediately family was my impetus to get additional help.

I took the Red Deer PCN Happiness Basics program. I believe the course helped me to see that I have to make a daily practice of the skills I have been taught. I can’t just try and apply them when I’m feeling down. By doing this I have levelled off my moods; I am not walking on air but I seem to be avoiding the deep depressive periods I had in the past. I am thankful for this change in my daily life.

For anyone else struggling with depression, I would suggest they attend the Red Deer PCN groups and actively participate. Very good tools are provided but they are of no use if not implemented in your daily life. I will continue with one on one therapy. I am now taking the Anxiety to Calm group and I will apply the skills I learn every day!  I also will continue the medications prescribed by my psychiatrist.”

Always remember achieving mental health is an everyday task!

About the Red Deer Primary Care Network

We (RDPCN) are a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacist work in clinics alongside family doctors.

In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care.  RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community.

 

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Alberta

Alberta going after opioid manufacturers and distributors in class action lawsuit!

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Alberta health minister

Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer announce Alberta will support B.C.’s proposed class action against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

From the Province of Alberta

Alberta supports opioid class action lawsuit

Alberta will participate in the proposed class action, filed in B.C., to recoup costs of opioids from opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The action is brought on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial governments and agencies that have paid health-care, pharmaceutical and treatment costs related to opioids from 1996 to the present.

In 2018, there were almost 800 fatal opioid-related overdoses and 4,200 calls to emergency services in Alberta.

“Responding to opioid overdoses has taken a tremendous toll on our families and communities, as well as adding to the demands on our health system. Our government will do our part to hold to account those who bear some responsibility for the wave of opioid addiction and overdose deaths we’re seeing.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Albertans have paid a high price for the irresponsible actions of opioid manufacturers and distributors. While we cannot bring back those we have lost, we can recover some of the enormous financial costs Albertans have paid and continue to pay. And we’ll take a balanced approach going forward, including more access to treatment and recovery services for people with addiction.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Our government is committed to ensuring our communities are safe, secure and protected. All Albertans have seen the terrible toll that opioid addiction has inflicted on our province and the individuals and families who suffer from the misery they create. Alberta will support the proposed national class action to hold manufacturers and distributors of opioids accountable for their role in the ongoing addiction crisis in Alberta and across Canada.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Alberta’s action on opioids

The Alberta government is working to improve access to treatment and recovery services for Albertans dealing with addiction and their loved ones. These actions include:

  • Committing $140 million to improving mental health and addiction care in the province, including $40 million specifically for opioid response.
  • Creating 4,000 more publicly funded treatment spaces so more Albertans can access life-saving addiction treatment.

The Alberta government is developing legislation similar to B.C.’s Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, which allows that province to recover health-care costs on an aggregate, rather than an individual, basis using population-based evidence.

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october, 2019

tue15oct(oct 15)8:22 pmmon28(oct 28)8:22 pmQuest for Gratitude 5 Day Challenge8:22 pm - 8:22 pm (28)

fri25oct6:00 pm9:00 pmRed Deer River Naturalists Banquet/Speaker Night6:00 pm - 9:00 pm MST Event Organized By: Red Deer River Naturalists

sat26oct10:00 am12:00 pmRed Deer River Naturalists Bird Focus Group Walk10:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Maskepetoon Park Event Organized By: Red Deer River Naturalists

tue29oct(oct 29)1:00 amsun03nov(nov 3)1:00 amCanadian Finals Rodeo1:00 am - (november 3) 1:00 am Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

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