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Runnymede Healthcare Centre launches Canada’s First Treatment Centre for First Responders Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Injury

TORONTO, March 3, 2022 /CNW/ – Runnymede Healthcare Centre (Runnymede) is announcing the launch of Canada’s first-ever dedicated rehabilitation centre to treat First Responders and frontline healthcare workers experiencing post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI).

The Runnymede First Responders Post Traumatic Stress Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Toronto (named Station 3434) and Peel will provide urgently needed access to a full continuum of care ranging from prevention, intensive treatment, aftercare and return-to-work for First Responders.

The Centre will be a purpose-built facility for First Responders with virtual care support further enabling provincial and national level scalability for a broader reach of services. It will support clinical PTSI research to directly inform treatment and is a true testament to the collaborative partnership with First Responders’ Command and Professional Associations, many of which are coming together for the first time to build the Centre with Runnymede.

Firefighters, Paramedics, Medical Personnel, Police Officers and Correction Officers on the front lines face traumatic events unique to their professions on a daily basis. It is an inherent part of their culture and a way of life. Recurrent traumatic events can have lasting effects on these individuals overall well-being and can leave them vulnerable to PTSI and other mental health conditions. This growing crisis has only worsened amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centre demonstrates explicit support and cooperation with federal, provincial and regional governments to obtain financial support for the project, including dedicated lands and grants for capital planning.

  • The federal and provincial governments are providing $1 million each in funding for the capital planning stage of the Centre.
  • Peel Region allocated 26 acres of land, which will be used to house the Centre’s inpatient facility.
  • The City of Toronto seconded Deputy Fire Chief Tony Bavota to lead stakeholder consultation and advise on program development.


“As leaders in rehabilitation, Runnymede Healthcare Centre recognizes the inherent importance of helping others achieve their fullest potential. Our plan, in partnership with the Government of Ontario will include an investment in new construction for a stand-alone dedicated First Responder’s Assessment Centre in Toronto and Residential Treatment facility in Peel Region. This investment will provide First Responders and Frontline Healthcare workers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) access to a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to their needs. With Federal, Provincial and Regional governments’ support, Station 3434 and the Caledon Wellness Centre will not only be the first facility of its kind built in Ontario but the first of its kind in Canada.” Connie Dejak, President and CEO of Runnymede Healthcare Centre.

“In our times of greatest crisis, our first responders always answer the call. No matter the risk, they are there to serve and protect us. Sadly, this service too often comes with a great personal sacrifice. These brave women and men have our back when we need them most, and this government will have their back too. That’s why I am so proud to support the incredible work of Runnymede Healthcare Centre. We are funding the planning stages of a one-of-a-kind facility for the treatment of mental health, addictions and PTSD dedicated to treating our first responders in their times of need.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“The brave police officers, firefighters and paramedics who respond to emergency situations and work to protect our communities are often exposed to traumatic events that put them at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Our government is pleased to support the Runnymede Healthcare Centre in its planning for wellness and rehabilitation facilities to help ensure emergency responders in Toronto and Peel have access to the care and resources they may need.” – Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones

“Supporting the health of our public safety personnel is something that we do with pride. Through the Action Plan on PTSI, we have made significant investments in further research to improve access to treatment and better understand how these injuries impact public safety officers and the community. We’re pleased to see Runnymede Healthcare Centre moving forward with important efforts to make research, treatment, and support widely available.” – The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety

“I am proud that Toronto will be home to Canada’s first-ever dedicated rehabilitation centre to treat First Responders and frontline healthcare workers experiencing post-traumatic stress injuries. I want to thank the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario for working alongside Runnymede Health Centre to bring this innovative and much-needed health facility to life. We have relied on our frontline first responders throughout COVID-19. The work they do 24/7 helps ensure we continue to have a safe and healthy city. This new centre is a good example of everyone working together to help provide them the services they need to feel supported and healthy. Congratulations to everyone involved and I look forward to the day when we can officially open the doors of this centre to our first responders.” – Mayor of Toronto John Tory

“Throughout this pandemic, public safety personnel have been keeping us safe from COVID-19, working as first responders on the front lines. They have done this selflessly, sometimes at great risks to themselves. Today, we begin the important work of looking after the mental health of those who for so long, have been looking after all of us. This important initiative at the Runnymede Healthcare Centre will directly benefit women and men in uniform, not just in my community here in Toronto, but around the province and across the country.” – Arif Virani, Member of Parliament for Parkdale–High Park

“First Responders run in when everyone else runs out. The number of potentially traumatic scenes they attend to in one week may be more than what most people experience in their lifetime. There is a huge need for the specialized mental health supports that will be offered at the Centre, and we know the care that First Responders will receive there will make a monumental difference in their lives and in the lives of their families ” Matthew Pegg, Fire Chief, Toronto Fire Services

“First Responders step up day after day to keep people safe during the most challenging of times. For our police officers, we know this dedication can take a toll both physically and mentally on them and their families. Sadly, a stigma still exists among some First Responders about accessing PTSI treatment and rehabilitation. The Centre will be a much-needed resource in overcoming those barriers.” James Ramer, Chief of Toronto Police Service

SOURCE Runnymede Healthcare Centre

For further information: Media Contact: Sarah King, Director, Corporate Communications, Transformation and Patient Experience, [email protected]