OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #478 April 11, 2016

Highlights include: Toronto OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials (TM) Training; Training Expectations Webinar; Andrew Loku Update; Ontario Minimum Wage; Report on Fentanyl Crisis; CONNECT gets Funds; Ottawa Safe Injection Site Debate; Shock Treatment in the U.S.; MHCC Recovery-Oriented Practice Webinar; 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.  Announcement of Toronto OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training
Please see the attachment for exciting details about the May 16 - 20 training program taking place in Toronto.  The registration form is enclosed.  For more information, please email opdi@opdi.org.
2.  OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training Expectations Webinar

OPDI is offering the Training Expectations webinar for OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program at 12:00 pm on April 26th.  This webinar is free for those enrolled in training as well as for potential participants and organizations contemplating sponsoring participants.  Please pre-register by emailing opdi@opdi.org

3.  In Aftermath of Andrew Loku SIU Decision, CMHA Toronto Requests Inquest

An extensive interview with Executive Director Steve Lurie is part of the report:

Call an Inquest into Andrew Loku's Death, Canadian Mental Health Association Says

More viewpoints about a possible inquest are in this Toronto Star story:

Andrew Loku Inquest Urged by Canadian Mental Health Association

In another police shooting inquest involving someone with mental health issues, and who moreover was a frequent visitor at Toronto City Hall, the feedback from political staff is poignant:

Police Shooting Prompts Soul-Searching at City Hall

4.  Ontario Minimum Wage Goes Up October 1, 2016

The Ontario Minimum Wage will rise to $11.40 October 1st 2016.  Other classifications will also change at that time:

Minimum Wage

Last week, we noted that the government rolled back its budget increases in drug costs for seniors.  Here is a media account of what happened:

Ontario's Reversal on Seniors' Drugs To Cost Government an Extra $100 Million

Legislation has been passed that recognizes PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in the case of first responders:

Ontario Passes Legislation to Support PTSD in First Responders

Puzzling though, nurses were left out of the law:

Ontario PTSD Legislation For First Responders Celebrated by Some, but Nurses Left Out

In a related story, the Mississauga Fire Department has proactively begun training to help employees cope with PTSD:

Mississauga Firefighters First in Ontario to Receive New Mental-Health Training

The province has created two new youth employment programs:

Ontario Launches New Youth Employment Programs in Time for Summer
5.  Globe and Mail Feature Series:  The Fentanyl Crisis

The newspaper's investigative team has turned its attention to addiction with two articles:

A Killer High:  How Canada Got Addicted to Fentanyl

Fentanyl's Deadly Path

Moreover, in a Canadian Medical Association Journal article, it was found that half of those prescribed fentanyl patches are at risk because their doctors are incorrectly prescribing the opioids:

Fentanyl Patches Often Unsafely Prescribed, Canadian Study Suggests

Doctors' Reckless Prescribing of Fentanyl Largely to Blame for Deadly Overdoses:  Expert

6.  CONNECT for Mental Health in London Receives Funding Letter from Ministry of Health

After inspired reporting, and an exchange between an Conservative MPP and Minister Eric Hoskins in Question Period, this peer support initiative has received a letter of funding from Queen's Park for the new fiscal year:

Finally, Program to Connect with Cash

7.  Innovative Practice:  Waterloo-Wellington LHIN Walk-In Clinic Offers Saturday Drop-in Counselling

Weekend hours for family counselling are now available in this city:

Saturday Walk-in Counselling Now Available in Kitchener

8.  Visiting an Assumption:  Spree Killers Must be Mentally Ill

The New York Times looks at various mass murders and connects with a psychiatrist who has built up a database of such incidents:

Investigating the Minds of Mass Killers

9.  Canadian Pharmaceutical Companies To Disclose Payments to Physicians and Health Groups

This action is long overdue.  However, no individual breakdown of payments to doctors will be done:

Canadian Drug Companies Agree to Divulge How Much They Pay Doctors, Health Groups

10.  City of Ottawa at Loggerheads on Safe Injection Sites

The Mayor and Police Chief are opposed although a coalition of drug treatment agencies and the Board of Public Health want it:

Battle Lines Drawn on Proposed Safe Injection Site for Ottawa

A No-Brainer:  Drug Treatment Agencies Want a Safe Injection Site in Ottawa

Supervised Drug Injection Site Support from Ontario Public Health "Huge", Say Advocates

11.  DEA in the United States May Reclassify Marijuana's Drug Status By Summer

Cannabis is currently deemed a drug "with no medical use and a high potential for abuse".  This rating may be under review by the Drug Enforcement Administration:

The DEA Will Decide Whether to Change Course on Marijuana by July

12.  Schizophrenia and the Sperm Donor Lawsuit

An Ontario couple has initiated a class action lawsuit against a sperm donor clinic, after finding out their baby's father had a mental health diagnosis:

He Was the Perfect Sperm Donor.  Then 26 Families Found Out He Wasn't.

Common sense tells us that there is not 100% correlation between parents with mental health problems and their offspring.  This article by two British psychologists takes a closer look at the evidence:

There Are No Schizophrenia Genes.  Here's Why.


13.  Is There Any Reason Why Telemedicine Couldn't Be More Popular?

The prospect of seeing more telemedicine visits in the United States is rising and this article paints some reasons why:

The Doctor Will Logon Now:  Why Telemedicine is Catching On With Consumers

14.  Update on Regulation of Shock Treatment Devices in the United States

Reclassification of ECT and mandated warnings to potential patients may be in the cards:

Psychiatric Shock Therapy, Long Controversial, May Face Fresh Restrictions

15.  The Truth Behind WebMD (With Advice About Which Medical Websites to Use)

This article examines a very popular health website and the cozy (if not fully disclosed) relationship with drug companies and how it might affect its posted medical advice:

The Truth About WebMD, A Hypochondriac's Nightmare, and Big Pharma's Dream

16.  A Refresher:  Police Records Checks

This legal aid firm offers a nifty summary of the main points of the new police records check policy as it applies in Ontario:

Check Please!  New Standardized Rules for Police Records Checks in Ontario


17.   What Kind of Introvert Are You?  Take This Quiz to Find Out?

The test is based on a book "Quiet":

So Apparently There Are 4 Kinds of Introversion

18.  A Call for Proper Testing of Smartphone Mental Health Apps

The author of this piece notes that there are a large number of these applications available online, but that testing for their outcomes has not kept pace:

Mental Health:  There's an App for That

19.  If You Live in Public Housing in Toronto and Rogers Serves Your Building Cheap Internet May be On the Way

The Connected for Success Program offers $9.99 a month Internet without a credit check to eligible tenants:

Rogers to Expand Low-Cost Internet to Social Housing Tenants


20.  Job Postings

Just a reminder that the Employment Works Coordinator posting at CAMH is still posted.
21.  Toronto Safe Injection Site Consultations (online and public events)

You can learn more by checking out this link.

22.  MHCC Recovery-Oriented Practice Webinar

The next webinar on Thursday, April 21st at 1:00 pm features Fiona Wilson from St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton and Brian McKinnon of Alternatives in Toronto, who will be speaking on recovery as a personal journey and how it is apprroached through a working alliance between service providers and people with lived experience:

Join the Next Recovery Webinar

23.  SSO Publicizes Police, Police Services, and Community Safety Consultation

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is consulting with the public on a new provincial plan for policing, called the Strategy for a Safer Ontario. The ministry is re-examining the nature of police and the role of police officers since the Police Services Act became law in 1990. The ministry is seeking feedback on a number of topics including:

  • Improving interactions between the police and people with mental health or addiction issues
  • Improving police accountability and governance of police services boards
  • Ensuring police oversight bodies (e.g. Special Investigations Unit, Office of the Independent Police Review Director) work the way they're supposed to and have clear mandates
  • Clarifying the duties of police officers and modernizing police recruitment and training programs


People with mental illness come into contact with the criminal justice system at increased and disproportionate rates compared to the general population. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that police are often the first responders to situations involving people in a mental health crisis.
Now is the time to provide your input to the ministry on how to improve interactions between police and people with mental health or addictions issues.

Share your feedback by Friday April 29, 2016 by completing a confidential online survey found here.
For background and more information about the consultation, click here.
To read a past SSO submission related to this topic, click here.
24.  Empowerment Council At CAMH Asks for Views on Physician Assisted Death

Lucy Costa posted on the CAMH Blog and is looking for your responses:

How Do Mental Health Clients Feel About Physician Assisted Death?

25.  Lawson Foundation Announces New Funding Opportunity for Diabetes Projects

OPDI and CMHA Ontario have taken advantage of this funding in the past for their Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support Project.

Learn how to apply for funding here.  Deadline is April 18th.

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 TwitterYou will find more interesting stories there that we couldn't fit in NewsToGo.
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.