In the fall of 2013, BTB Founder Savannah Magnussen-Afonso and the wife of a Calgary Police Service officer was inspired by a fellow police spouse to create an organization to focus on issues that affect police families, where we could relate, educate ourselves and support one another through the journey.
While the police department offers support to our officers, there is little support for the everyday issues we, as police families, struggle with. From the outset of BTB the focus was on training, education and a positive but realistic approach to LEO life. We believe if we have peers who understand our fears and frustrations, our joys and triumphs, that we can truly be encouraged by one another. Beyond The Blue was born out of this common goal with the support and endorsement of the Calgary Police Service and Calgary Police Association and the hard work of 4 CPS spouses who endeavored to create an organization that has grown to include hundreds of police families.
Savannah Magnussen-Afonso, Amanda Dalton, Tara Ernst, and Mary-Ellen Hartmann took steps to make this vision a reality and started what would soon become the first of many Beyond The Blue chapters across Canada.
York Beyond The Blue joined our BTB family in 2016 under the York Regional Police Service’s Peer Support Unit. The YRPS Peer Support Unit realized the need and importance of educating and supporting our members’ families and saw great success in the BTB model.
We welcomed Toronto as a part of the BTB family in 2017 under the leadership of 2 TPS spouses who shared our vision for supporting & strengthening police families - TBTB president Dilnaz Garda and Vice President Kristal Jones. Dilnaz lost her brother, P.C. Darius Garda in February of 2016 when he took his life after battling years of mental health issues after an on the job shooting. Since then, Dilnaz has been determined to normalize conversations around mental health.
Realizing BTB would only continue to grow, in 2017 Savannah and Dilnaz began to formalize operations for Canada Beyond The Blue, registering as a national non-profit organization and taking steps to recruit more BTB chapters.
Seeing the success of the other chapters across the country as well as the support and resources available to spouses and family members of uniform and civilian officers, it was clear to some other dedicated individuals that we needed to establish a chapter in the Vancouver & Durham Region.
In 2019, Canada BTB is thrilled to welcome Vancouver BTB under the leadership of VPD Spouse Erica McKeddie; and Durham BTB President Julie Skinner and Vice President Shantel Munro are excited about the opportunities that being a part of Beyond the blue will bring to all DRPS families. Peel BTB launched in 2019 as well with great success thanks to Caitlin Alwyn and Karin Docampo-Nash.
2020 will see a BTB Chapter created for the Ontario Provincial Police thanks top the vision of Jacqueline Sbeyti & Melissa Heikamp, as well as and in the Niagara region of Ontario.
The warm reception we have received from police services coupled with the immensely positive impact on the families in the regions where we hold Chapters, Canada BTB is committed to expanding.
Canada BTB is actively working towards increasing the number of established Chapters, aligned with police services and associations across Canada. This will allow for greater support structures, collaboration and access to resources for police families.
Larger organizations have an inherent strength and advantage which can include a greater amount of funds, stronger brand recognition, economy of scale, greater human resources and talent pool to draw from, and more – all of which Canada Beyond The Blue hopes to benefit from.
Canada BTB is continually working on improving awareness of our mission - utilizing social media to reach our audience. We have established goals to improve our operations, trademark and more.