OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #418 December 2, 2014

Highlights include: ODSP and Ontario Works December Benefits Computer Problems; Federal Report on Eating Disorders; Ontario Food Banks; Federal Government and Veterans’ Mental Health; Knowledge Mobilization Toolkit Website; Job Postings; 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. ODSP Computer Causes Problems  with December Benefits; Related Webinar Fully Booked
The transition to a new computer program that issues funds to ODSP and Ontario Works recipients has been in the news and not in a good way:
Critics Slam Premier Over Welfare Payout “Glitch”
New Social Assistance Software Should be Dumped Until Fixed
Social Assistance Computer Error Sees Millions Paid Out by Mistake
Support Payments for Disabled People May not Arrive
Social Assistance Software Causes Havoc for Clients, Case Workers
On a related note, changes were to have taken place beginning this month.  The Income Security Access Centre and the ODSP Action Coalition had advertised a webinar to educate people about these changes.  The registration has closed.  However, the archived webinar will be available for viewing after the December 11th event takes place.  Please see this notice for further information:

ODSP Employment Benefits Webinar

2. Federal Parliamentary Committee on the Status of Women Releases Report on Eating Disorders

The report can be found here.
This media reaction report finds disappointed stakeholders:
Parliamentary Committee Report on Eating Disorders Disappoints Advocates
The Globe and Mail’s AndrĂ© Picard also laments the lack of a federal action plan:
Eating Disorders are a Scourge in Need of a Strategy

3. Food as a Social Determinant of Health in the News

The latest edition of the Hunger Report from the Ontario Association of Food Banks is out.
More people are using food banks due to precarious employment and the associated physical and mental health issues they cause:
Use of Food Banks Soaring Across Ontario
Women, children, and persons with a disability are among those who use food banks:
First-time Food Bank Users Up 20% in Ontario:  Report

4. Extreme Decision at Heart of Child’s Mental Health Care

Only by surrendering her parental rights might an adoptive parent (who is also a physician) might be able to obtain specialized intensive care for her son:
Give Him Up to Give Him Help:  Sudbury’s Mom Terrible Choice
5. Federal Government’s Actions on Vets Criticized
The act of disclosing having PSTD may result in fewer benefits for discharged veterans:
Soldiers with PSTD might not get Full Pension, Advocates Warn
What seemed like a generous investment of $200 million in services for Canadian armed forces’ mental health needs became diluted with the news that it will be spread out over 50 years(?!):
Fine Print on Ottawa’s $200 M Veterans’ Fund:  It will take 50 Years to Pay
Furthermore, during a time when military suicides are happening, the government is having a hard time filling mental health positions in remote communities:
National Defence Struggling to Staff Mental Health Positions in Remote Outposts

6. Police Shooting of Mental Illness-Involved Individual in Vancouver

The all-too familiar scenario recently happened in Vancouver, and the CMHA Toronto executive director Steve Lurie was interviewed for the story. Key points raised are familiar to many:
Police Shootings Often Involve Mental Illness and Ill-Prepared Officers

7. An Imminent Problem in Case Studies:  Co-op Housing and the Loss of Rent Subsidies
As maturing co-op buildings pay off their mortgages, the federal government is not continuing its operating agreements that will allow subsidized tenants to have rental assistance.  The Housing for All website created by the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association has case studies to share of the grim implications of such a policy:
Housing for All:  Case Studies
8. Bad Heroin, Fentanyl, Naloxone, and Prescription Heroin in the News
Please refer to the Toronto Police Services bulletin and the news report for information:
Heroin Overdoses in Last 24 Hours, Including One Fatal
Rise in New Street Drug Alarms Sudbury Police
This is the Toronto resource to contact for help:
The Works:  Toronto Public Health Needle Exchange Program
This article explains why heroin has become a higher-profile substance use problem:
Why Heroin Has Made a Comeback in America
As the antidote Naloxone for heroin overdoses is being considered for frontline workers for use, its price as a generic has suddenly gone up, and may affect the ability of organizations to prepare these harm reduction kits:
Nasal Naloxone Price Set to Jump
In Vancouver, 120 heroin addicts are being prescribed their drug of choice for the first time outside of a clinical trial with an intent of harm reduction:
Prescription Heroin Offered in Vancouver
9. New York City Invests In Mental Health Care to Divert Prisoners from Jail
Instead of housing inmates at $160,000 (US) annually, the city will be putting money into services such as detox, housing,  and therapy and will have judges acting to divert prisoners into being monitored and staying clean:
New York City Mayor Pledges $130 M to Treat Mentally Ill Accused Instead of Jailing Them


10. Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries in Youth Linked to Alcohol and Drug Use
The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey draws out the finding that those who reported such a medical past were more likely to smoke and use alcohol, and for this reason, parents, coaches and teachers need to be aware:
Teens with Concussion History May be More Likely to Use Drugs, Alcohol

11. Off-Ward Passes in the Forensic System

This CAMH blog entry from the chief of Forensic Services explains the role of passes away from the hospital as a route to recovery and ends in a link to a PDF resource called the Forensic System in Ontario:
Off-Ward Passes in the Forensic Mental Health System

12. “Mind Your Mood” App for Children and Young Adults Now Available

Track your moods on your smartphone using this app; a webpage explains it:
It is available as an IOS or Android application here.
13. A Learning-Based Approach to Overcoming Homelessness and Profile of Street Health
With the aid of a grant, St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto set up a recovery and learning centre for those at risk of homelessness and, partnered with other community agencies, offer an opportunity for people to transition to housing while improving their mental health:
A STAR is Born
The Toronto Star profiles Street Health, one of those community agencies St Mike’s partners with:
Non-Judgemental Care for the Homeless


14.  The Dream Team Inclusion Employment Project
The ad for an Inclusive Employment Project coordinator for the Dream Team is here.

15.  Brantford-Area Peer Specialist

H.O.P.E., the Brantford CSI, has an opening for a Health Links Peer Specialist.  We have a brief explanation for how this position will work in discharge planning for mental health and addictions consumer/survivors who use this support.
16. Taylor/Newberry Seeks a Junior Consultant
A junior consultant for research and evaluation with this firm is needed.
17. Knowledge Mobilization Toolkit
The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health (CHEO) has launched its KMb toolkit website.  It is a resource for strengthening access and understanding of useful evidence, policy, and practice for mental health not just for children and youth, but can be transferable to other areas of knowledge.  The website can be found here:
Knowledge Mobilization Toolkit

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

To subscribe to this e-mail update, please e-mail opdi@opdi.org.  Or visit our website here:  http://opdi.org
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.