Ontario Launches Bereavement Support Program

Funding will provide families of fallen public safety personnel with rapid access to mental health supports

April 5, 2024

AURORA — The Ontario government is investing over $3 million to support families of first responders and public safety personnel who are killed in the line of duty or have died by suicide. The funding will provide free rapid bereavement counselling for up to two years following the death of a loved one.

“First responders and public safety personnel put their lives on the line for the safety of Ontario every single day,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “That is why our government is ensuring that families who experience the loss of a loved one can access critical mental health support when they need it most. This investment is a testament to our government’s dedication to protecting everyone who helps keep our province safe.”

The Ontario Immediate Family Wellness Program will provide compassionate assistance for grieving families of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, ambulance communications officers and adult provincial correctional services employees.

“Ontario is proud to be home to world-class first responders who go above and beyond every day, sometimes putting their lives on the line to provide safety, care and support in communities across the province,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Through our government’s investment in this new program, we are ensuring that loved ones of fallen paramedics, and all first responders, have access to the compassionate supports they need to begin their journey towards healing.”

Family members can access mental health services such as crisis support, counselling and therapy by phone or online. These services are being delivered through a three-step care model that includes:

  • Professionals who provide crisis and care planning 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Comprehensive mental health services, including rapid access to counselling
  • Proactive care that supports families regardless of location or services required