Workplace investigation initiated in Calgary police wellness training review


The Calgary Police Service (CPS) spent about $30,000 on mental health and wellbeing education and training through an unaccredited US institute, with which ties have since been severed.

The Calgary Police Commission (CPC) met behind closed doors with the CPS on September 16 and received an initial report of an internal review that began August 31.

Questions asked after a Global News report revealed that Calgary police received training from a US company pretending to be a college. This investigation revealed that the company was not accredited and, according to education experts, bore all the hallmarks of a diploma mill.

According to CPC, it has been proposed that four employees graduate from the College of Certified Psychophysiologists in 2021. The CPC said financial assistance was given in violation of CPS rules.

Before the relationship broke, two employees had enrolled in degree programs and another was scheduled to receive an honorary degree, the CPC said.

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Three people also completed a police mental health certificate. Sixteen people completed a two-day Critical Incident Stress Debriefing course.

“We continue to have serious questions about how the service ended up paying for employees to earn degrees from an unaccredited college, especially when there is a policy prohibiting it,” said commission chair Shawn Cornett.

“We will ensure that this question and questions reviewing the other training offered by this college are thoroughly investigated and addressed.”

The commission also said they would conduct a workplace investigation to determine if there was any wrongdoing by service members.

Study application for CPS

According to the CPC, the CPS policy on providing student aid requires that learning occurs at an accredited post-secondary school.

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The employee must create a learning plan that explains why they are attending the training, what courses are included, and how the training aligns with the business needs of the service,” the CPC report said.

CPS members are permitted to enroll in classes that are not part of post-secondary programs if there are no in-house courses. Training must meet a business need, is shareable, and is cost-effective.

Part of the training was approved through this process.

Additionally, the standard of clinical mental health care service is to have practitioners with a master’s degree and registration with a recognized Canadian professional organization.

The CPC said the initial review found no evidence that the college’s course material was being used in CPS wellness practices. The college also did not provide direct treatment or support to staff.

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Unfortunately, this incident has raised doubts among some employees about the quality of the psychological support available to them,” said Cornett.

“We need to get to the bottom of what happened and restore trust in the system as soon as possible so that employees continue to seek that support when they need help.”

Previously, Calgary Police said they have one of the most robust mental health and wellness components for law enforcement in Canada.

“We have 100 percent confidence in the training and skills of the staff in our psychological therapy section, as well as other outside contractors who provide psychological services directly to our members,” they said at the time.

All further action is reserved until a workplace review is completed, the CPC said.

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