Brad McKay, Retired Staff Sergeant

the story

About me

I am a Canadian Municipal Staff Sergeant who retired in 2015 after 33 years of service with York Regional Police, north of Toronto. After a police involved shooting in 1984, I began lecturing to new recruits to help them prepare for their career ahead. This evolved into a volunteer initiative on the sidelines to his successful career primarily as a criminal investigator.

Overview And Experience

Brad McKay

Honored to be part of Badge of Life Canada

I live in Aurora and am the proud father of 2 daughters, one being a new family physician who, as a result of her upbringing, is developing a trauma informed approach to family medicine in her practice in order to best support first responder and other families in the community. I recently became a grandfather.

In 1989 I co-created a trauma team for my police organization and in 1996 transitioned it into a regional Critical Incident Stress management team serving all first responders in my community and beyond. After the 9-11 tragedy in New York, I lead members of my team and mental health professionals to support NYPD members there who were suffering.
Before retiring, I enhanced the wellness unit and created an in house Peer Support Team for my organization.


In my retirement, I joined with the beloved Canadian Grandfather of Peer Support Syd Gravel and together we co-author publications that help organizations best support their members. We provide valuable advice and investigate challenging claims where organizational toxicity is alleged to exist. Together we deliver on a curriculum that Syd built after the Mental Health Commission of Canada published their guidelines on peer support in 2013. I am a co-lead with the Peer and Trauma Support Services section at Mood Disorders Society of Canada. I do clinically supervised peer support at the Trauma Centre in Sharon, Ontario.
In 2019, I was honoured to be invited to the UK by the amazing Oscar Kilo organization where I and Syd shared our knowledge of peer support and learned of the great work being done in the UK to support police. More recently, I have entered into a contract with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to provide Peer Support Training and consulting as part of their Movember grant. I am also a member of the Peer Support Advisory team based out of the University of Regina and McMaster University. My success is a result of the kindness and collaboration shared by other organizations and I believe strongly that working together and sharing best practices is of benefit to all. I also believe that the best peer support and wellness systems are those that are created by the members who directly benefit. Everyone who is a stakeholder needs a voice and leaders who realise this and support the good work will soon see the benefits.


A short description of the various therapist certifications in Ontario.

Clinical Psychologists

Clinical Psychologists are required to complete a related Masters and Ph.D. program to practice in the province of Ontario that must be research-based and subsequently have a thesis component. They are governed by the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO).

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Registered Psychotherapists

Registered Psychotherapists (RPs) are registered by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and, like Registered Social Workers and Clinical Psychologists, are permitted to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy.

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Registered Social Workers

Registered Social Workers (RSW) are helping individuals to enhance their well-being. They are governed by the Ontario College of Social Workers.