OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #476 March 29, 2016

Highlights include: Federal Budget; Brantford CSI H.O.P.E. In Spotlight; Andrew Loku Shooting; Safe Injection Sites in Toronto; Making Decision-Makings Commit to Peer Working; PSACC Conference Update; In Memoriam, Susan Marshall; Jobs; 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.  OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program - Webinar for participants on starting an internship (WEDNESDAY, March 30 from noon - 1 pm)  TOMORROW

The next OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar will be held Wednesday, March 30th from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.  If you have completed the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials (TM) Program and have received a Level 1R you are invited to join if you wish.  Please e-mail opdi@opdi.org and the information to login will be sent to you.

2.  Ontario Newsroom

The province has released its Patients First:  Action Plan Progress Report which details achievements in the last year with respect to creating better access and creating a sustainable system, which are among  the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's talking points:

Ontario Reports Results on More Investments and Better Access to Health Care

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has announced a ban to race-based street checks and will implement new clear and consistent rules after public consultation:

Ontario Prohibits Carding and Street Checks, Sets Out New Rules for Police Interactions

With criticism in Question Period about the government's take on health issues, the Ministry took an opportunity to mint a fresh press release on its doings:

Ontario Investing More than $50 Billion in Health Care

The announcement that 2,000 correctional officers are to be hired in the next three years includes the mention that it will, among other objectives, "strengthen mental health supports".  We have the press release and an accompanying story:

Ontario to Hire 2000 New Correctional Officers

Minister in Hamilton Talks of Hiring 2,000 Correctional Officers
3.  Federal Budget Brought Down This Week

The federal budget presented the Liberal government in Parliament this week:

Budget 2016

Income supports are analyzed by the Income Security Access Centre:

The 2016 Federal Budget and Income Security

This news story highlights the investments in housing:

Affordable Housing Budget Commitment Totals $2.3 Billion

With respect to a Canadian With Disabilities Act:

"To eliminate systemic barriers and deliver equality of opportunity to all
Canadians living with disabilities, the Government will consult with provinces,
territories, municipalities and stakeholders to introduce a Canadians with
Disabilities Act. This budget allocates $2 million over two years, starting in
2016–17, to support the full participation of Canadians with disabilities in
this process." (p.172)

4.  Andrew Loku Shooting in the News

We have a collection of news clippings regarding the shooting of Andrew Loku by Toronto Police and the subsequent decision not to file charges:

The Life and Bloody Death of Andrew Loku

No Charges for Police Officer Who Shot Andrew Loku

Family, Advocacy Groups Want Coroner’s Inquest into Death of Andrew Loku

Police, Demonstrators Clash at Andrew Loku Protest

On a related note, a journalist went to a mental health police training program in Peel Region:

Crash Course in Dark Thoughts

5.  Safe Injection Sites in Toronto (Update)

The Toronto Board of Health approves a motion to allow public consultations on three proposite safe injection sites:

Toronto Board of Health Gives Unanimous Support for Safe Injection Sites

Health Board "On Crack" With Drug Injection Vote:  Mammoliti

Poll Finds Most Torontonians Approve of Supervised Injection Sites

Neighbours at Queen and Bathurst Ready to Accept Toronto Injection Sites

Toronto Suburbs Need Supervised Injection Sites Too

This commentary reminds us about the "bad" law that has taken effect in the last year:

Tory Law Stands in the Way of Smart Drug Policy

6.  Health Canada Allows Non-Prescription Use of Naloxone, Opioid Overdose Antidote

This medication, if action is taken by individual provinces, will be available without requiring a prescription:

Opiate-Blocker Naloxone Delisted by Health Canada, Could Soon be Available Without a Prescription

This story from Nova Scotia explains how a provincially funded pilot program would work and be further enhanced with easier access to the non-prescription antidote:

Cape Breton Group Applauds Health Canada Naloxone Decision

In a related story, Ontario Police Chiefs have begun an awareness campaign around the dangers of Fentanyl:

Youth the Face of Fentanyl Awareness Campaign

7.  Brantford CSI H.O.P.E. Makes the News with March 30th Micro-Business Event

Kudos to Martha on this great profile of the organization and its good works:

Peer Support Encourages Recovery

8.  Reducing Drug Use for New Brunswick Seniors

This pilot program seeks to identify "non-pharmaceutical" dementia care and apply it to the institutions in that province:

New Brunswick Program Aims to Curb Overuse of Anti-Psychotics in Seniors

9.  Marijuana-Impaired Driving Presents Legal Dilemmas

How you test for THC levels (the chemical that causes impairment) and determining a baseline level are just two of the issues that need to be clarified:

Ottawa Wrestles with Challenge of Deterring Pot-Impaired Driving


10.  Scottish Recovery Network Research:  "What Makes Decision-Makers Commit to Peer Working"?

By interviewing a small number of stakeholders, the SRN was able to come up with findings and suggested next steps on how to make peer support more available in Scotland:

What Helps Decision=Makers Commit to Peer Working?

11.  Alcohol Does Not Have Health Benefits

A systematic review of past studies does not show that moderate drinkers have improved health outcomes, and in a commentary accompanying the paper, another scientist said outright that starting drinking for health reasons is wrong:

Drinking Alcohol Offers No Net Health Benefits, Review Finds

12.  UBC Study Finds that Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Canadians Report More Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (220,000 Canadians), higher incidences of mental illness, and heavy drinking were observed in these populations:

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Canadians Report Higher Rates of Mental Health Issues

13.  Patient Preference and Digital Health

It is true that we are seeing an influx of digital health apps on the market that are seemingly designed for patient use.  However, as this blog entry lays out, the low rate of patient uptake suggests that designing such tools requires understanding the user perspective:

Designing With the Patient in Mind

14.  Implications of Technology and Tracking of Patients

We are seeing advances in the way that technology is improving care:  medications can be monitored remotely and even released into the body as required, for example.  What are the implications relating to patient privacy and how the state may regulate the behaviour of patients?  Check out the article.


15.   Approaches to Reading a Scientific Journal Article

A sampling of scientists give advice on how to parse a paper:

How to (Seriously) Read a Scientific Paper

For the satirical tongue-in-cheek perspective:

How to Read a Scientific Paper

16.  A Psychotherapist Explains Why Shame is So Important (and Yet Hidden)

In this blog entry from a team of psychotherapists, the author discusses the under-realized role of shame in the theraupethic relationship.  Although written from the perspective of the practitioner, anyone will find this insightful reading.  Resources are also suggested.

17.  Break These 12 Habits -- Improve Your Mental Health

This article suggests there are a dozen routines one can stop in order to improve one's psychological wellbeing,


18.  Job Postings

Helen is retiring as the Executive Director of the Consumer/Survivor Information Resource Centre.  You can find the ad on page 5 of the current C/S Info Bulletin.

The Executive Director of NISA (Sudbury CSI) advertisement has been extended to April 1st.
19.  PSACC Conference Update

There are fewer than 30 spots left (as of 03/24/16 at 10:30 am) for the eagerly awaited biannual National Conference on Peer Support April 27-29 in Toronto.  You can click on this link to register.  For those who require accommodation, here's information on the special rate at the conference hotel.

20.  Hold the Date -- PSR/RPS Canada Conference in Thunder Bay

This event takes place June 20-22 at the Valhalla Inn.  The landing page for information about registration and conference schedule is here.

21.  In Memoriam, Susan Marshall  (Original "Day Oner")

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Susan Marshall, who was known to one and many in the Ontario consumer/survivor movement.  She was part of CSI from the very beginning in 1991 (hence the "Day Oner" tag), bringing a Northern Ontario perspective to the table, and was respected for her patient, earnest leadership.  In more recent years, she was a consultant with OCAN.  We have an obituary contributed by her former colleagues, for whom condolences go out especially to Maria, Lisa, Marilyn, and many others with lived experience and cherished memories of Susan.  The newspaper obituary is here, and the online funeral home guestbook offers a place for comments online.

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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.