OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #344 – May 3, 2013
Highlights Include:

Ontario Budget 2013 Coverage; Second Reading in Parliament of Bill C-54; Stitching Our Social Safety Net; Ontario Investments in Homecare and Community Care; EENet Update; News; and More.

Editor’s Note: Please be aware that many online newspaper sites are now behind pay-walls. Not all articles with hyperlinks may be accessible due to circumstances beyond our control; we apologize for the inconvenience.




      1.  Ontario Budget 2013


      The budget was brought down on Thursday, May 2, 2013.  The website can be found at:


      Ontario Budget 2013<http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2013/>


      The PDF Budget document is here:


      Ontario Budget Document PDF<http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2013/papers_all.pdf>


      CMHA Ontario does a nice summation of the key points applying to the community mental health and addiction field:


      CMHA Ontario – Provincial Budget Highlights<http://ontario.cmha.ca/public_policy/201314-provincial-budget-highlights/#.UYPdK8oyB_Q>


      The Income Security Advocacy Centre which has its keen eye on social assistance reform is relieved that no move has been made to reform ODSP:


      Download ISAC's full budget analysis here<http://incomesecurity.us4.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=095b12c98935ecaadd327bf90&id=c796dcb02e&e=f67f28a7b9>


      Of particular interest to PWLE are those relating to social assistance (see pp. 83-100 in the budget PDF):


      ·         Earning income is easier for those on ODSP (new $200 exemption on monthly earnings)

      ·         No change to Work-Related Benefit or Special Diet Allowance

      ·         Easing of restrictions on cash gifts and car ownership

      ·         OW and ODSP rates will go up 1% later in 2013


      Also, those eligible for the Ontario Trillium Benefit (made up of the previous Ontario Sales Tax Credit, the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit, and the Northern Ontario Energy Credit) will have the option of getting the credit in one lump sum beginning in 2015.  Full details are here:


      The Ontario Trillium Benefit – More Choice for People<http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2013/bk4.html>


      There are nominal funding increases for community mental health and addiction organizations (1% in the current fiscal year) as indicated on page 121.


      This is what the government had to say about the Provincial Mental Health and Addiction Strategy (see boldfaced text for details) (from pp. 74-75):


      Improving Health Care for All


      The government is committed to ensuring all the people in this province have access to the same high‐quality health care services. To achieve this goal, the government is focused on implementing measures that help meet the unique health care needs of patients across Ontario, including:


      ► investing $20 million annually to help small and rural hospitals improve patient care and transform their organizations. The government is supporting these hospitals in their role of delivering critical health care services within their local communities;


      ► launching Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors to provide better access to health care, quality resources, and improved safety and security for Ontario’s seniors. The Plan, which builds on recommendations from Dr. Samir Sinha’s report, “Living Longer, Living Well,” draws on new and existing government programs to ensure seniors and their caregivers have access to the services they need, when and where they need them. This includes new supports for long‐term care homes and matching a primary care provider with every Ontario senior who wants one;


      ► moving forward with the Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions

      Strategy, focused to date on children and youth, with funding growing to $93 million per year by 2013–14. The government will build on this Strategy over the coming year to expand and improve services for adults as well as youth. In addition, the government continues to support mental health and addiction services across the province, including early intervention, community‐based counselling, employment training, supportive housing, residential treatment, and prevention of and treatment for substance abuse and problem gambling; and


      ► working with First Nation communities to increase access to care and community supports for those addicted to prescription narcotics.

      The government is investing in five new Community Wellness Development

      Teams with mental health and addictions expertise, blending traditional and cultural practices. The investment will also support the use of telemedicine equipment to allow providers to conference with patients in remote communities.


      Healthcare stakeholders’ reactions are forthcoming in this article:


      Budget Shifts Health Care Dollars<http://www.thepost.on.ca/2013/05/02/budget-shifts-health-care-dollars>


      The burning question of the day is, of course, will the budget pass in a minority government situation?  If not, there would be a provincial election.  We share two opinions; one is from a lobby group; the other is that of a veteran journalist:


      Strategy Corp:  Our Thinking on Ontario 2013 Budget<http://www.strategycorp.com/en-us/ourthinking/ontario2013budgetreview.aspx>


      Ontario Budget and Andrea Horwath<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/05/02/f-vp-fisher-ontario-budget-horwath.html>


      The latest word at press time comes from Steve Paikin’s interview with the NDP Finance Critic, Michael Prue:


      The Agenda:  Very Odd Budget Lockup<http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blogs/very-odd-budget-lockup>



      2.  Second Reading of Bill C-54 (Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act)


      Two hours of Parliament were given over to Members’ statement about the bill that would designate “high-risk” mentally disordered offenders. This took place on April 26th.  The link is here:


      Hansard April 26 2013<http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=Hansard&Doc=241&Parl=41&Ses=1&Language=E&Mode=1#OOB-7984421>


      The debate took place between 10:05 and 11:00 am, and resumed at 12:10 pm to 1:30 pm.


      From remarks made by the Justice and Human Rights Committee chair April 15th, it appears that the bill will be headed there for hearings in the next two months.



      3.  Criticism of Bill C-54 Continues


      The opinions of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Chair of the Ontario Review Board are documented in this article:


      Critics Slam New High-Risk Designation for Mentally Ill Offenders<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/critics-slam-new-high-risk-designation-for-mentally-ill-offenders/article11603053/>


      The CPA media release on Bill C-54 is on their website:


      Canadian Psychiatric Association Press Release on Bill C-54<http://www.cpa-apc.org/media.php?mid=1854>



      4.  The Case of Richard Kachkar


      This is a very comprehensive run-through of the details of this widely-publicized case where an individual that killed a police officer was found not criminally responsible:


      How a Cop Killer was Found Not Criminally Responsible<http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2013/04/29/richard_kachkar_how_a_cop_killer_was_found_not_criminally_responsible.html>


      Embedded in the story are links to others including one on common misconceptions about “NCR”.



      5.  Profile of an Anti-Poverty Coalition Election Advocacy Effort


      A Toronto Star columnist profiles the “Stitching Our Social Safety Net” headed by the Dream Team, Houselink, and other organizations to ensure that social services remain front and centre as issues in the event of an upcoming provincial election:


      Repairing Our Frayed Social Safety Net with Art<http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/04/29/repairing_our_frayed_social_safety_net_with_art_fiorito.html>


      You can find the website and Facebook page here:


      Stitching Our Social Safety Net website<http://stitchingoursocialsafetynet.webs.com/>


      Facebook Page for Stitching Our Own Safety Net<https://www.facebook.com/StitchingOurOwnSafetynet>



      6.  The Danger of Prescription Drugs


      Betty-Lou Kristy tells her story in this news report:


      The Danger of Prescription Drugs<http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/Toronto/ID/2382775114/>





      7.  Initial Depression Diagnosis Not Always Confirmed in Re-evaluation


      Over 60% of people diagnosed initially with depression by a clinician didn’t meet the criteria when evaluated a second time, according to this study:


      Most People Diagnosed with Depression do not Meet Criteria<http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/study-most-people-diagnosed-with-depression-do-not-actually-meet-criteria/275436/>



      8.  EENet Update for April 2013


      You can read the e-newsletter here:


      EENet April 2013 e-newsletter<http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=139298292eb07b4d94f3d7768&id=a11ad53f87&e=1b6e3f29cd>



      9.  St. Michael’s Hospital Research Flash

      This hospital emphasizes research on marginalized populations such as the homeless; in this current quarterly issue, summaries of peer-reviewed articles make for interesting reading:

      Research Flash Volume 3 Issue 3 2013<http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/crich/wp-content/uploads/CRICH-Research-Flash-Volume-3-Issue-3-2013.pdf>

      Other issues can be found here:

      Research Flash Library<http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/crich/outreach/crich-research-flash/>




      10.A Reminder about the SSO Scholarship Awards


      The deadline to apply is May 6, 2013:


      Schizophrenia Society of Ontario Scholarship Program<http://www.schizophrenia.on.ca/Programs-Services/Schizophrenia-Society-of-Ontario-Scholarship-Progr>




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      Thanks for reading!


      The Staff of OPDI


      NewsToGo is OPDI’s e-mail update providing timely and meaningful information to its stakeholders. The ideas expressed are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of OPDI. We welcome your submissions; please direct them to opdi@opdi.org. Preference will be given to material which directly relates to OPDI member affiliates and issues of concern to consumer/survivors throughout Ontario. We reserve the right to edit the length and style of all materials submitted. The current and back issues of NewsToGo can be found at http://www.opdi.org or our archive.