OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #375 – December 20, 2013

Highlights include: Ontario Health News; Ashley Smith Coroner’s Inquest Verdict; Legal Aid Ontario Launch; Federal Views on Marijuana and Victim Surcharges; HSJCC Presentations Highlighted; National Conference on Peer Support Registration Now Open; 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 Health News

The Ontario government has expressed its dismay that the federal government’s health transfer payment has decreased this year:

Ontario Not Receiving Expected Health Transfer Funds

Also making news is the recent announcement of plans to fund most of the medical expenses for refugees that the federal government had earlier stopped:

Ontario Reinstating Refugee Temporary Health Program

It’s the annual low-key report on the success of the poverty reduction strategy:

Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy 2013 Annual Report


2.  Ashley Smith Inquest Verdict – Homicide

We have selected three stories about the inquest:

Ashley Smith’s Coroner’s Inquest Rules Death a Homicide

Ashley Smith Verdict:  A Chance to Rethink how Prisoners with Mental Illness are Dealt With

Can Someone Save the Next Ashley Smith?


3.  Legal Aid Ontario Releases Mental Health Strategy (update)

A media profile on the LAO report on legal aid and those with mental health and addiction issues (including a report on the launch at PARC) is available here:
Legal Aid Ontario Working to Close the Gap for Clients with Mental Illnesses


4.  Federal Justice Minister on Marijuana

This is a double-edged sword:  Peter Mackay speaks about possible fines for marijuana.  Does this actually increase the possibility of criminal action being taken?

Tories Consider Softening Marijuana Laws


5.  Victim Surcharges and the Courts

With reports that judges are not following the letter of the law with respect to new mandatory victim fines, these references may help:

Backgrounder:  Victim Surcharge

Defence Counsel Warned to Pay Attention to Victim Fine Surcharges

Mackay Defends Mandatory Victim Surcharge


6.  Mental Health and the Canadian Military (update)

An advocate for an organization that helps injured Canadian veterans comments on a troubling and growing issue:

Canadian Military Faces Wave of Mental Health Cases


7.  Hints on Donating to a Food Bank

There’s maybe a reason why supermarkets offer prepackaged bags of donations for the local food bank, as this brusquely titled article confirms:

What to Give at the Food Bank


8.  U.S. Official:  There are Better Ways to Speak of Addiction

This is an enlightening and encouraging transcript of a conversation about the language of addiction:

Learning How Not to Talk about Addiction


9.  MH Peer Specialists in Hong Kong

Just a hint that peer support is becoming more universally accepted – here’s a story originating from Hong Kong:
Peer Specialists Use Their Experience to Counsel Others with Mental Illness


10.A Contrarian Position on Smoking and Mental Health

Some consideration on why nicotine use isn’t so bad: 

Why Smoking Can Be Good for You



11.HSJCC Conference Presentations Now Available Online (suggestions)

Presentations from the November 2013 Biennial Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee are now online:

4th Biennial Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee Conference Presentations

We want to share two presentations (chosen at random) that may be of interest to readers.  One presentation summarizes the HSJCC resource:  Ontario Police Emergency Department Protocols.  The other scans what we know about addiction, mental health, and police records – certainly a timely issue.

Ontario Police Emergency Department Protocols Presentation

Addiction, Mental Health and Police Records:  Impact of Non-Conviction Records, Issues and Solutions


12.Ontario Student Drug Survey (follow-up)

This article follows up on the recently released Ontario Drug Use and Health Survey:

Students Use Home Medicine Cabinet to Get High


13.Why the US Spends So Much on Medical Care

This book review focuses on a fascinating hypothesis:  the reason that the United States spends so much on health care compared with other countries is their corresponding lack of investment on non-health social services.  Is this a lesson for Canada/Ontario also?

Why the US Spends So Much on Medical Care


14.Teen Gene for Mental Illness?

Find out more in this story of Montreal researchers and their finding:

Researchers Discover Teen Gene that can Help Combat Severe Mental Illness


15.Pot and Schizophrenia Brain Changes

Again, this is speculative, but perhaps worth considering:

Pot Smokers and People with Schizophrenia May Share Similar Brain Changes


16.National Conference on Peer Support Early Bird Registration

The long-awaited April 30 – May 2, 2014 Peer Support Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has now begun early-bird registration:

PSACC Conference Early Bird Registration

Full details can be found on the Peer Support Accreditation and Certification Canada website:

National Conference on Peer Support

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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.