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Statement on the Official Implementation of a 988 in Canada on 30 November 2023

31 August 2022

More than 628 days since a motion was adopted in the Hosue of Commons and 212 days since the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) concluded the national consultation about a 3-digit phone number for suicide prevention, I am beyond happy to see that an announcement has been made this morning by the CRTC about the official implementation of a National 988 Suicide and Crisis Line on 30 November 2023. Within Canada on a daily basis, about 11 people take their own life from suicide. With suicide being the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 to 34, Indigenous rates of suicide as high as 9 times non-Indigenous peers, and LGBTQ youth at 14 times more risk of suicide than straight counterparts, the implementation and continued promotion of a national 988 suicide and crisis lifeline in Canada needs to continue to be a national priority. As many as 7000 Canadians may have taken their life from the vote on the motion in the House of Commons in December 2020 to this announcement today. A National 988 MUST be accessible to everyone everywhere within Canada no matter who they are or where they may reside. This also includes ensuring the appropriate forms of care through such a line that fits with an individuals culture, values, and language(s). While there is still much more work ahead over the next few months until the National 988 Line is official in use, and more work after a number is put to use to ensure its public knowledge and continued availability to everyone everywhere, this is a step in the right direction and I look forward to seeing a National 988 Line in use starting 30 November 2023. ###

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