CHILLIWACK – Mark Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chilliwack—Hope seconded Conservative colleague Todd Doherty, MP for Caribou—Prince George’s Private Members’ Bill C-294, to implement 9-8-8, a national suicide prevention hotline in virtual Parliament today.
On December 11th, 2020, the House of Commons passed a motion introduced by MP Doherty, through unanimous consent, to bring a national 3-digit suicide prevention hotline to Canada:
“That, given that the alarming rate of suicide in Canada constitutes a national health crisis, the House call on the government to take immediate action, in collaboration with our provinces, to establish a national suicide prevention hotline that consolidates all suicide crisis numbers into one easy to remember three-digit (988) hot‐line that is accessible to all Canadians.”
“It’s been 147 days since we passed my 9-8-8 motion in the House,” stated MP Doherty. “Since then, we’ve lost an estimated 1600 people to suicide. Another 40,425 have attempted suicide.”
The new bill introduced today makes one addition to the Telecommunications Act and gives the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) one year to dedicate a three-digit suicide-prevention service.
“I was proud to second my colleague MP Doherty’s important bill today to establish a national three-digit suicide support and prevention system,” stated MP Strahl.
“The past year has been incredibly challenging,” continued MP Strahl. “Lives and livelihoods have been lost. We have seen the devastating impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental health of Canadians. Our national suicide rates continue to rise. We need 9-8-8 in place as soon as possible in Canada, so that when someone is in crisis, help is only three digits away.”
Statistics show that every 24 hours on average, 11 Canadians take their own life. Another 275 attempt to end their lives.
“We need a simple and easy to remember three-digit number that people can call if they’re in trouble and need help. Assistance should only be three digits away. This bill will save lives, it’s as simple as that,” concluded MP Doherty.