On April 20, a tragic incident took place in Elliot Lake that puts a spotlight on workplace safety for Ontario’s probation and parole officers, who like many of us are struggling to cope with the combination of work stress and the COVID-19 pandemic.
What we have learned is that a probation and parole officer was present during what looks like a suicide by a client within the workplace. The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is looking into the event because a firearm was used.
This unimaginable scenario will have a lasting effect on those who were there, and others who may not have been directly present but who are dealing with the mental anguish suffered in the aftermath. OPSEU wants to let everyone know that we are here to help as we know the process to heal and deal with what has happened will take time.
To our proud and valuable OPSEU members who do their very best to protect the citizens of Ontario as probation and parole officers: we recognize this is an extreme example of the mentally taxing and dangerous work you do every day. Your work is valued and appreciated. We say this because we know that you often do your jobs with little fanfare or thanks.
We are thinking of you, and we thank you for your commitment to keep us protected. We hope that others recognize your value as well.