Program to help TTC workers who suffer trauma wins national award

A TTC program that supports employees who suffer emotional trauma on the job has won a National Corporate Leadership Award from the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA).

Introduced in 2015, the Peer Support Program provides care and support for employees who experience acute emotional trauma resulting from suicide and suicide attempts in the subway system. Acute emotional trauma is the predominant occupational injury in the TTC’s Subway Transportation department.
"The Peer Support Program is an important initiative to support our operators who have experienced trauma,” said TTC Chair Josh Colle. “This also demonstrates the TTC's commitment to health and safety on the system and for our employees."

The Peer Support Team is made up of 14 employees, many of whom have experienced traumatic incidents on the job. The team receives training in critical incident stress support, ethics and guidelines for a peer supporter. Last year, they devoted more than 80 hours of volunteer time to support and encourage their peers following suicides and attempted suicides in the subway, leading to a 45% reduction in related lost time injuries.

The program is aligned with the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s standard on psychological health and safety in the workplace and promotes a culture of care at the TTC.
TTC CEO Andy Byford lauded the collaborative nature of the program. “This support program for subway operators demonstrates just how employees and management can work together to ensure operators get the help and assistance they need, in addition to formal counselling that is available through the TTC's employee and family assistance plan,” Byford stated. 

The award, which falls into CUTA’s safety and security category, recognizes transit organizations for their commitment to enhancing the safety and security of transit employees and/or customers through the development and implementation of effective safety and/or security programs.

The CUTA Corporate Leadership Awards were presented in Montreal on May 14.

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