Federal memorial grant program expanded to include correctional officers

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OTTAWA — The federal memorial grant program for first responders is being expanded to recognize correctional, parole and probation officers who lose their lives.

The program provides a one-time lump sum, tax-free payment of up to $300,000 to families of first responders who die as a result of their work.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says families of newly eligible recipients will be able to apply to the Memorial Grant Program early in the new year.

Eligibility will be retroactive to April 1, 2018, the beginning of the grant program.

Public Safety says correctional, parole and probation officers play an important role in administering custodial sentences and preparing people for safe reintegration into their communities.

The department says it is looking at broadening the program to other public safety personnel, and will conduct a targeted consultation on its scope in coming months.

"The government of Canada recognizes that repeated exposure to challenging work conditions can be a danger not only to physical health but to mental health and personal resilience," Blair said in a statement.

"The selflessness and sacrifice of these professionals commands the respect of all Canadians, and their families deserve to be treated with the greatest compassion and support."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press