TORONTO — Ontario’s auditor general says medical leave taken by Ontario Provincial Police officers with post-traumatic stress disorder is contributing significantly to understaffing at detachments across the province.
The audit found that in 2020 more than 1,000 front-line constable positions were vacant – about a quarter of all such positions in the OPP.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claims for exposure to psycho-social situations, including incidents leading to PTSD diagnoses, led to 11,037 days of leave in 2020.
Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says the increasing number of OPP officers filing WSIB claims for PTSD and other mental health injuries is symptomatic of an ongoing issue related to officers’ mental health and stress.
She says the staffing shortages led to 28 per cent fewer hours of patrols, and 26 municipalities received less than half of the hours of policing services they needed.
The audit also found that regions with higher front-line officer vacancies resolve fewer crimes.
© 2021 The Canadian Press