OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #407 September 9, 2014

Highlights include: Extended Deadlines for OPDI Conference and Lighthouse Awards; Ontario’s Anti-Poverty Strategy; Ontario Human Rights Commission 2013-2014 Annual Report; Primary Care Physicians Serve the Homeless;Young, Gay, and Homeless; OPDI Focus Group for Toronto Mental Health Peer Supporters September 19th; 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. To minimize the impact of pay-walls, consider regularly clearing your browser cookies.


1. Important Announcement -- Upcoming OPDI Conference! Lighthouse Awards Nominations Deadline Fast Approaching!

The Annual General Meeting and conference “Mobilizing Peer Support in Ontario” is quickly approaching and we would also like to address some deadline extensions:

  • Voting Delegates: (attendance sponsored by OPDI) register by no later than Wednesday September 10th.   The updated registration package is here.
  • Nominations for the Lighthouse Awards have been extended to Friday, September 12th.  Poster, brochure, individual and organization nomination forms are here.
  • Additional delegates register by no later than Wednesday, September 10th.
    • Additional delegates should book their hotel rooms by September 15th in order to get the conference special rate of $129.00.

2. Ontario’s New Anti-Poverty Strategy

“Realizing Our Potential” is the name of the province’s anti-poverty strategy for the next five years and is based on improving the lives of children and youth, offering income security, and intending to end homelessness in an outcome-oriented framework that stresses the importance of indicators.  The press release with a link to the report is here:
Realizing Our Potential
A media report with stakeholder reactions is available, as a commentary and Opposition critic reactions:
More Cash Commitments Needed in Poverty Plan
Liberals’ poverty plan has right idea, few specifics
Province Boosts Homelessness Program by $42 Million

3. Ontario Human Rights Commission 2013-2014 Annual Report

The report can be found here:
Annual Report OHRC 2013-2014
Highlights of interest to the mental health and addictions community was the OHRC’s participation in the Coroner’s Inquest around the Toronto Police Service shootings of individuals with mental health issues, the release of the “Minds that Matter” report on rights and mental health/addictions, and transgressions related to zoning by-laws relating to group homes and methadone clinics.

4. Wait Lists for Youth Mental Health Services in Ottawa

This article comes from Ottawa; it is quite probably the same situation province-wide:
More Young People Wait for Mental Health Treatment

5. The Plight of Homeless Young Gays from Religious Homes

What happens when young people come out to their families, and they disapprove?  This Rolling Stone article considers one of those consequences:
The Forsaken

6. Primary Care Providers and Serving the Homeless

The Toronto Star’s Carol Goar walks the reader through the obstacles relating to the homeless receiving basic medical care, and lauds Pat Capponi for her bridge-building in connecting those who offer care with others who need it:
Shut out of Medicare by Shame
7.  Marijuana and Driving Under the Influence
This article looks at the developing issue of driving under the influence as legalization of marijuana continues state-side:
Marijuana’s Hazy Contribution to Highway Deaths
8. Community of Interest for Racialized Populations and MH & A:  Promising Practices Paper (repeat)
This paper explores how peer support is being used (a Community Support Worker in an urban hospital setting and Peer Navigators in the Central LHIN at two sites) and briefly considers its broader implications:
The Value of Peer Support for Improving Emergency Department Experiences for Racialized People with Mental Health Issues
Also related to the CoI for Racialized Populations are these two blog entries by Sheela Subramanian appearing in the online journal Qualaxia that explains in part the processes that led to the development of the article:
The Challenging Realities of Immigrant Mental Health

9. Women with Mental Health Issues and Sexual Violence
One British study concludes that 40% of women who have a diagnosis of severe mental illness have experienced sexual assault or attempted rape:
Women with Severe Mental Illness Five Times More Likely to be Victims

10. Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee E-Newsletter (repeat)

The August 2014 edition is now available. This issue is particularly useful because of its links to recent policing, corrections, and addictions media sources that have recently made news:
August 2014 HSJCC E-Newsletter


11. OPDI Invites Toronto Mental Health Peer Supporters to a Focus Group Sept 19
As you have probably noticed elsewhere, OPDI has been circulating a survey of peer supporters to inform our policy, planning and advocacy work and to inform the creation of a peer support Community of Practice.

The next phase in our exploration calls for some focus groups in a few cities.  We are looking for five to ten Toronto area peer supporters working in mental health, to attend a focus group Friday September 19th to explore and expand on themes that are emerging from our survey.

The group will run from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. and a cash honorarium of $20 will be paid to each participant (maximum 10 participants).  Jason Newberry of Taylor Newberry Consulting will run the group while OPDI staff will facilitate hosting and refreshments.

It is not necessary to have participated in the survey in order to participate in the focus group.  However, if you are interested in the survey there is still time and it can be found here: http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/tnc/peer-support-worker-survey/.

Please consider registering for this if you are:
· a peer supporter working formally in the mental health system
. we welcome a mix of paid or volunteer peer workers from hospital, community mental health programs or consumer-run organizations
· able to help inform us on the state of peer workers in Ontario today
· please contact deb@opdi.org and ask to be added to the focus group. We can take ten, and will get back to ten with location info.

Your input will be kept anonymous and non-identifying.

12. AUGED Training Opportunity (George Brown College)
George Brown offers Assistant Cook Extended Training and Construction Craft Worker Extended Training.  Please see the orientation sessions below:
Date 1:  Monday, September 15, 2014
Date 2:  Monday, September 29, 2014
Date 3:  Monday, October 13, 2014
All of these sessions are in:
Room:   536E
Time:  3:30 pm
At:  St James Campus, 200 King St E
Application Deadline is October 17, 2014
Construction Craft Worker EXTENDED TRAINING (CCWET)
Date 1:  Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Date 2:  Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Date 3:  Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Date 4:  Tuesday, December 16, 2014
All of these sessions at:
Room:   E072
Time:  330 pm
At:  Casa Loma Campus, 146 Kendal Ave
Application Deadline is February 6, 2015
Please RSVP at auged@georgebrown.ca or  (416) 415-5000 x 6790

Contributions and comments are welcome.  Please email to Raymond@opdi.org. “News to Go” in the Subject line: 

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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.