OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #459 October 27, 2015

Highlights include: Social Assistance Updates, "Transformative" Homelessness Report Promised, Obtaining Police and Health Records; Major Schizophrenia Study; "Hold Your Fire" Documentary Postponed; Job Postings ; and More.

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1. Ontario Newsroom

The flu season is coming, and the province recommends getting flu shots.  A press release with links including where to get them can be found here.

2.  Province Updates the Social Assistance Software Situation

The province has issued a follow-up report relayed in a press release on what actions have been taken since the software problems reported for managing social assistance (ODSP,Ontario Works, and Children with Special Disabilities) were identified by stakeholders in the past year and later confirmed by PWC acting as consultants.

Naturally it's more expensive:

Costs for Ontario's New Welfare System Soar

It is worth revisiting John Stapleton's viewpoint quoted in the Toronto Star editorial that the real reason why social assistance is so hard to manage is because each individual case is different and no software can cope.  Simplification is needed:

It's Not Just Welfare System That Needs a Fix

3. After the Federal Election -- Revisiting the Liberals' Promises

Here's a reminder of their election platform revisited shortly after the vote:

Trudeau Wins:  Here's What He Promised and What He'll Face as Prime Minister

An early takeaway -- harm reduction may rightfully re-emerge to take its place in the discussion around mental health and addiction:

Harm Reduction "Back on the Table" with Trudeau Win

4.  Sammy Yatim Shooting Trial

There has been much media coverage of the trial (including explicit video footage) widely available with a search through Google News.  One piece of coverage that deserves mention is that of the TTC operator who testified in court early this week; although he didn't appear to have as much training in dealing with difficult customers as the Toronto Police Service, his calm and even-handed approach in this situation stands out:

Streetcar Driver Testifies About Final Conversation with Sammy Yatim

5.  Municipal and Housing Minister Promises "Transformative" Report on Homelessness

Ted McMeekin was referring to a January 2015 provincial expert panel set up in January 2015 to look at homelessness and he suggests that the recommendations to come have a reasonable chance of federal funding:

Ontario Poverty Report Will be "Transformative", Says Liberal Minister Ted McMeekin

6.  ISAC Information Sheets (New Rates for Social Assistance)

On a less transformative note (i.e. the nominal 1% increase), the Income Security Advocacy Centre has posted the new social assistance rates that take effect at the end of the month:

ODSP and OW Rates (Effective October 30, 2015)

ISAC also has an update about the fact that the ODSP Work-Related Benefit is still available:

The ODSP Work-Related Benefit is Still Available

7.  Marijuana Tax Revenues Anticipated at Queen's Park

Based on similar impact in states south of the border that have legalized marijuana, this province stands to gain a lot of tax revenue as a result if the Liberals' promise is carried out:

Pot Legalization Gives Queen's Park a Buzz

8.  Waterloo Region Battles Suicide

This well-reported feature includes detailed graphics on incidences and statistics related to mental health crisis situations and deserves a read:

Mental Health Crisis in Waterloo:  "Let's Get at This as a Community"

9.  It's That Time of the Year:  A New Bond Film, a New Excruciating Villain

From a British perspective, this writer finds it all too much:

Skyfail:  Why the New James Bond Villain Perpetuates Mental Health Stigma


10.  Major Schizophrenia Study Reveals Low-Dosage Treatment, One-To-One Therapy, and Family Support Best for Outcomes after Two Years Compared with Just Meds

The New York Times article is here:

New Approach Advised to Treat Schizophrenia

The Huffington Post does a good job of summing up reaction:

"Game-Changer" Study Says There's a Better Way to Treat Schizophrenia

11.   Is Depression Related to Inflammation?

The idea that the immune system is tied to depression is explored in this feature:

Could Depression be Caused by an Infection?

12.  Resource:  How to Obtain Your Police Records

With police records checks in the news (as relating to medical records and carding), the provincial Office of the Privacy Commissioner (IPC) has made available a webpage with hyperlinks on how to get your police records:

How to Access Your Police Records

13.  Resource:  How to Obtain Your Health Records

Likewise, the IPC has made available a webpage on how to access your health records:

Requesting Your Health Records

14.  Therapeutic Dogs and Psychiatric Disabilities

Psychiatric service dogs are profiled in this article.  Their role and training (1500 hours) is much more nuanced than you might think:

Inside the Misunderstood World of Psychiatric Service Dogs

15.  Meta-Analyses of Antidepressants Distorted by Pharmaceutical Conflict of Interests

As a layperson, one reads meta-analyses as being data-driven and unbiased by healthcare experts.  You might want to think again:

Mad in America:  Massive Number of Antidepressant Meta-Analyses Biased by Industry


16.  Job Postings

York Support Services Network in Aurora is hiring a Peer Support Facilitator.

ADAPT (Halton Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Assessment Prevention and Treatment Services) is looking for a Peer Support Worker.

Summit Housing and Outreach Programs (Halton) is looking for a Peer Specialist.

NISA (Sudbury) is looking for a Regional Warm Line Coordinator.

Fresh Start Cleaning and Maintenance (Toronto), the consumer/survivor alternative business is hiring.

17.  2016 Waypoint Research Institute Conference Call for Abstracts

The Call for Abstracts for the Waypoint Research Institute Conference (the theme being implementing Evidence-Based Practices in Mental Health and Addictions) is now open Idead.  This conference takes place May 17-18, 2016 in Barrie.  Please refer to this Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin excerpt  for full details

18.  Dare to Dream (For Under 18 Year Olds) Funding Mental Health Promotion Program

The deadline is October 31st (next funding cycle) for those eligible who want to apply for a grant to promote mental well-being in their community:

Dare to Dream Website

19.  CBC Firsthand Episode:  "Hold Your Fire" on CBC-TV (UPDATE)

This documentary scheduled for October 22 was cancelled at the last minute.  The producer explained in a Facebook statement:  After careful consideration, we have decided that we cannot take the risk of airing this documentary as planned on Thursday October 22, 2015  as it could potentially undermine a fair trial currently before the courts. This is a very strong film and we are going to air it as soon as we are not at risk of potentially prejudicing the trial.

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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.