OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #436 May 1, 2015

Highlights include:   Ontario Budget; Ontario NDP MPP Private Member's Bill on Mental Health and Addictions; OHRC MH & A Webinar; Social Assistance Update; 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. Provincial Budget 2015

Here is the landing page for the Ontario government’s 2015 budget:

2015 Ontario Budget

OPDI summarized highlights in its analysis and linked to other stakeholders' backgrounders earlier to its membership.  You can access it here.

2. OHRC "Preventing Discrimination in Mental Health and Addictions Webinar"

Please check out the webpage for more information on the May 27th 12 pm event:

OHRC Mental Health Webinar

3. NDP Introduces Private Bill on Mental Health and Addictions

London MPP Teresa Armstrong has a private members' bill for the Ontario Legislature that would see the creation of a Mental Health and Addictions council to design, manage, and coordinate the system.  The Ombudsman would be given the powers to investigator the sector also.

The text of the private member's bill is here.

The bill references the recommendation made by the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions which published its report in 2010.

The MPP discusses the bill on her website.

Here is a news story about the proposed bill and reaction from the Minister of Health:

London MPP's Bill Targets Fragmented Mental Health System

4. Inadequate Supports and Staff Training for Mentally Ill in Ontario Correctional Institutions

A report from the Public Services Foundation of Canada focuses on overcrowding and poor staff training despite the estimate that half of provincial inmates are living with a mental health or addictions diagnosis:

Exclusive:  Ontario Prisons Poorly Equipped to Deal with Mentally Ill, Report Finds

The link to the report can be found here:

"Tough on Crime" Policies Causing a Crisis in Provincial Jails

5. Unreleased Federal Prison Ombudsman Report Reveals Drug Delay for Inmates

The Globe and Mail reports that due to delays, prisoners in federal institutions may not be assessed by doctors for 30 days and longer, and therefore do not have access to their medications.  This is especially problematic for persons with a mental health diagnosis, for which the sudden withdrawal of maintenance drugs can lead to rebound psychosis:

New Inmates Denied Medicine Due to Drug-Plan Flaw:  Ombudsman

6. Ontario Government Pledges to Fix Social Assistance after Consultant Report

The Minister of Community and Social Services, Dr. Helena Jaczek, has apologized and promised further action on the balky computer system:

Liberal Government "Truly Sorry" for Bungled Welfare System Rollout

The PWC report can be accessed here:

Final Report on Social Assistance Management System (SAMS)

7. Worrying Precedent:  Henson Trust  Means Loss of Quebec Social Assistance

A woman with cerebral palsy whose mother set up a Henson trust for her has been denied social assistance until those monies are used up:

Woman with Cerebral Palsy Loses Quebec's Help Because Mother Saved for her Future

8. Winning the Fight for the Special Diet Allowance

Legal aid lawyer Lesli Bisgould offers an account of the key tribunal hearing decisions and where the Special Diet Allowance now stands:

Victories for Social Assistance Recipients Who Need Special Diet Allowance

9. Police Records Checks Coalition Has New Website

Please visit www.prccontario.ca for the improved website that now features a "Get Involved" section.  Remember that the provincial government plans to introduce a new policy this spring.


10. Binge Drinking and the Brain

In experiments with rats, scientists found that binge drinking caused abnormalities in the part of the brain most associated with memory and learning.
persistent abnormalities in the structure and function of the hippocampus, the region most closely associated with learning and memory.  The changes to the hippocampus also made them more likely to be affected by trauma and disease.

Youthful Binge Drinking Changes the Brain

11. Childhood Bullying and Long-Term Mental Health

Bullying has the effect of increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide later in life:

How Bullied Children Face Long-Term Hits to Mental Health

12. CoI for Racialized Populations:  March 23rd Think Tank (repeat)

On March 23, the Racialized Populations and Addictions and Mental Health Community of Interest held a Think Tank to address how OCAN (the Ontario Common Assessment of Need) could be used to advance health equity.  You can access PowerPoint presentations and the webinar by going to the EENet blog:

Exploring the Potential of OCAN to Advance Equity in Mental Health


13. Employment Postings

AMHO (Addictions and Mental Health Ontario) is looking for a part-time General Office Clerk who is required for a short-term office organizing project.  This position will provide administrative and clerical support to a small office.  The ideal candidate for this position must have strong organizational skills with excellent attention to detail, strong written and oral communication skills and be able to physically lift a range of office items. The candidate should also be equipped to work collaboratively within a dynamic team.  Deadline is May 4, 2015.
Addiction Services for York Region (Aurora) is looking for a Peer Support Worker for opioids harm reduction.

York Support Services Network needs a half-time Crisis Support Peer Worker.

Good Shepherd (Hamilton) is looking for a part-time Peer Support Worker for the SOS Women's Program.

14. Choices in Mental Health Collaborative Survey

The Choices in Mental Health Collaborative is a group of service users, service providers, activists, academics, and medical doctors interested in exploring alternatives and complementary approaches to psychiatric services. As a starting point we have developed two surveys - one for service providers and one for service users – to help identify places across the GTA that are providing options in recovery. We do hope you can help us by answering some questions.

15. Journal of Ethics in Mental Health Conference

Please join the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health for their 7th conference: "Singing in Three Part Harmony: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and the Legal System".
Hosted by the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health (www.jemh.ca) in association with McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada) and The Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).
Keynote Speakers: Art Caplan PhD & Jonathan D. Moreno PhD
Dates: June 11, 12, 13, 2015, Thursday (all day), Friday (all day), Saturday (morning)
Location: Victoria Hall, 55 King Street West, Cobourg, Ontario (one hour east of Toronto, half hour south of Peterborough, on the main Via Rail line)
Please see the attached conference schedule and registration form or http://www.jemh.ca for details.

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

Like us on Facebook.  Follow us on Twitter.
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.