A motion to establish a national suicide prevention hotline was passed unanimously by MP’s in Ottawa today (Friday).
The groundwork to help bring 988 to Canada was spearheaded by Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty.
Doherty told Vista Radio while the victory is nice, the work is just beginning.
“We knew that Canadians wanted it, we knew that industries supported this and the national mental health association supported this and now we need to find a way to get this done.
“It was incumbent on the government to move the motion and the will of parliament, which included all parliamentarians who supported my motion to bring 988 to Canada. Now, the real work begins, we had met with the CRTC, we had met with the Telecomms and I have worked with our colleagues across the floor and now the only that was missing was political will.”
In the House of Commons, MPs have unanimously passed a motion proposed by Todd Doherty, the Conservative MP for Cariboo–Prince George, B.C., calling on the government to immediately work with the provinces to establish a single national suicide prevention hotline. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/VC51TMuKux
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) December 11, 2020
Earlier, Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu told Vista Radio a lot of that behind-the-scenes work was already in motion.
“That work is actually underway with Health Canada and we are communicating with my colleague Minister (Navdeep) Bains on the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) side, obviously we need their permission to utilize a three-digit line.”
“What we want is to make sure that when someone utilizes a service like that they get the right support at the right time so that work is happening and I have committed to MP Doherty that this work happens as quickly as possible.”
Momentum for 988 continues to gain traction after a 19-year-old woman from London, Ontario launched a petition to bring the service to Canada where it has netted 32-thousand signatures so far.
The goal is to reach 35,000 signatures.
In 2022, US citizens will be able to call 988 to receive help when in crisis. after it was passed by the Federal Communications Commission in July.
Right now, Canada offers a free online portal called Wellness Together Canada for anyone seeking Mental Health and Substance Use Support.