NDP launches campaign for national suicide prevention plan
Timmins-James Bay MP and Indigenous Youth Critic Charlie Angus is proposing a new bill calling for a national suicide prevention plan.
The legislation calls on the government to develop an action plan. It would include Canada-wide guidelines around training for frontline workers and also calls for culturally-appropriate programs.
"It is completely unacceptable that Canada is one of the only developed countries in the world that does not have a national suicide prevention plan," Angus said.
"We are losing people, young and old, on a daily and weekly basis across the country."
Angus adds a federal plan is needed to address gaps in data collection, social factors and special challenges for different communities, including Indigenous communities."
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day says First Nations are ready to contribute their expertise.
'We deserve better'
"We certainly have a plethora of individuals that are experts and we certainly have strong leadership and a willing young population that is saying we need better we deserve better and we need to be participatory in making it better," he said.
Day adds the strategy will help coordinate these programs at the grassroots level.
"There basically is a central tenet that solutions exist in our communities and this is what this strategy is going to do," he said.
"It's going to make sure there's no more outside solutions coming in to try to define what our problems and solutions are."
According to the NDP, a similar provincial program implemented in Quebec cut that province's suicide rate by a third and the youth suicide rate by over 50 per cent.
Several Indigenous communities in recent years, including some in northern Ontario, have declared a state of emergency due to high youth suicide rates.
With files from Kate Rutherford