OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #456 September 30, 2015

Highlights include: ODB Recipients and Medications; Mental Health Act Changes Proposed; Federal Election News; Suicide in Hospitals; Beer in a Few Grocery Stores by December; Job Posting; 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. Ontario Newsroom

Ontario Drug Benefit recipients can now receive three-month prescriptions for certain medications associated with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.  It doesn't appear to apply to people with psychiatric medications.

ODB recipients will also have to now try two or more generic equivalents of a brand medication before the government reimburses them for the "name" medication.  If the patient can tolerate the generic medication, and chooses to keep using the brand medication, s/he will have to pay the difference as the government will reimburse only the cost of the generic.

Full details are here:

Ensuring Patients Get the Drug They Now Need and in the Future

2.  Important Changes to Mental Health Act Proposed

In light of last year's Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that a patient's rights were violated by being involuntarily detained for more than six months in hospital, the government is proposing changes to the Act by the end of the year.  The Consent and Capacity Board is being given more leeway to make decisions regarding the patient.  The other change would permit physicians and nurse practitioners to sit on Consent and Capacity Boards where the hearings are less complex.  For full details, please refer to the Ministry's Health Bulletin:

Proposed Amendments to the Mental Health Act for Long-Term Patients

3. Federal Election News Relating to Mental Health, Addictions, and Disability

Addiction doctors urge the federal parties to consider legalization of marijuana and to regulate its supply and sale also:

Marijuana Prohibition Would Do More Harm than Good, Doctors Tell Federal Parties

A Liberal Senator and former Toronto mayor has voiced his opinion about the need for a National Housing Strategy:

Eggleton:  Canada Needs More Affordable Housing

According to the AODA Alliance (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance), the NDP has released a statement saying they would support a Canadians with Disabilities Act and undertake several other measures if elected.  You can review the Alliance’s press release here.

4.  Ontario Auditor General Reports on CCACs

The Auditor General's Office has put out a press release as well as the report.

The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care has publicly responded:

What it really means:  an Op-Ed by the Toronto Star columnist who has had the file:

Urgent Need for Ontario Home-Care Task Force

5.  Fentanyl Overdose Warnings and TV Ontario Coverage of "Ontario's Opioid Problem"

Toronto has experienced an rise in overdose deaths caused by heroin and fentanyl misuse, and Calgary police have issued a public warning.  TV Ontario's "The Agenda" also takes a look at the issue:

Toronto Overdose Deaths Jump Dramatically

Calgary Warns of Fentanyl Public Health Crisis

Ontario's Opioid Problem

6.  Social Enterprise Tackles Hoarding Problem

Supportive Housing of Waterloo is starting a business that gives opportunities for the unemployed and those transitioning back to employment by offering a variety of cleaning services related to hoarding:

Getting Empowered

7.  Mandatory Minimum Sentencing For Growing Six Pot Plants Struck Down

This one mandated a minimum 6-month sentence for growing at least 6 marijuana plants for the purpose of trafficking:

Ontario Judge Strikes Down Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Pot Growing

8.  Federal Correctional Services Plan to Hire Mental Health Experts

The goal is to make recommendations around the care of inmates who have mental health issues and is in the wake of several highly publicized suicides:

Correctional Services of Canada to Hire Mental Health Experts

9.  Province Plans to Allow Beer Sales in Grocery Stores

A few grocery stores will be allowed to sell alcohol by Christmas.  What will be the impact on public health?:

Beer to Arrive in Ontario Grocery Stores by December

Reality Check:  Does Making Booze Harder to Buy Make People Safer?


10.  Toronto Star Series:  Suicides in Hospitals

The investigative series on deaths in hospitals is here:

"We Put Him There to Be Safe", Says Father of Young Suicide Victim

How Do Suicides Happen in Hospitals?

Scrap 15-Minute Suicide Checks, Experts Advise

Editorial:  Transparency is the First Step to Stopping Suicide in Hospitals

11.   Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain

In a Canadian study, medical marijuana used at chronic pain clinics seemed to be both effective and safe for patients (who used it by smoking, vaporizing and ingesting):

Medical Marijuana Seems to Help Chronic Pain Patients, Appears to be Safe

12.  What is the Role of Consumer/Survivors in Psychiatric Education?

Lucy Costa (writing as a foreign correspondent for the "Mad in America" blog) raises important questions, including whether consumers are being co-opted in the process:

Should Consumer/Survivors Help Psychiatrists Become Better Psychiatrists?

13.  Mental Illness and Mass Shootings:  Scapegoating

In this interview with an expert, we find out what predictive factors are much more likely to lead to shootings and violence than the popular perception that mental illness is *the* reason:

Everybody Blames Mental Illness for Mass Shootings.  But What If They are Wrong?

14.  What is it Like to Hear Voices?

The Globe and Mail interviewed Kevin Healey to find out:

What It's Like... to Hear Voices

15.  Advance Notice:  CBC Firsthand Episode:  "Hold Your Fire" October 22 at 9 PM on CBC-TV

This documentary tackles the issue of police training and looks at progressive practices where there is interaction with the mentally ill.  The news release is here.


16.  Peer Support Training for Parents and Family Members

Are you a parent or family member looking for training to become a peer support worker, supporting other parents and family members?  OPDI has had some inquiries in the Toronto area and we are wondering if there is enough interest to run a special parent & family class.  If you are interested please contact us at opdi@opdi.org.

17.  Job Posting

CMHA Toronto is looking for an Evaluation Lead for its Peer Program Evaluation Project (hurry, applications are due October 2).

18.  WRAP Through Fitness at the Gerstein Centre (Toronto)

Here’s an opportunity in Toronto to learn about WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) and combine it with fitness.  There is also a program geared for youth:

WRAP at the Gerstein Centre

19.  Schizophrenia Society of Ontario Annual Report 2014-2015

You can view a copy online.

20.  Transgender Hotline (American and Canadian Toll-free Numbers)

Trans Lifeline is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. "Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of our community might have," according to the website: www.translifeline.org. "This line is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis. This includes people who may be struggling with their gender identity and are not sure that they are transgender. While our goal is to prevent self-harm, we welcome the call of any transgender person in need. We will do our very best to connect them with services that can help them meet that need. If you are not sure whether you should call or not, then please call us." In the U.S., call 877.565.8860. In Canada, call 877.330.6366.

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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.