OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #485 June 3, 2016

Highlights include:    Patients First Act Legislation; Mental Health and Student Debt; 10 Years after the Kirby Report; Health Quality Ontario Drafts Mental Health Standards and Want Feedback; 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.  Important Legislation Seeks to Integrate Health Care and Eliminate CCACs

The "Patients First Act" comes after months of consultations following a discussion paper that foreshadowed this legislation.  A followup discussion paper is the companion to the proposed legislation.  Outcomes from these changes are supposed to result in better access, closer coordination and continuity of care with better cultural and linguistically appropriate services.  The press release is here.  The legislation is here.

A news story and a commentary summarize the changes:

Reforms Will Make Ontario Health Care More Seamless

Ontario's Bold Bet on Healthcare Reform

We have reaction from the Opposition (both PC and NDP health critics are quoted):

LHINs "A Disaster" -- MPP

2.  Ontario Funds Toronto LGBTQ2S Youth Crisis Counselling Centre

The province is contributing $1.5 million dollars with its focus on homeless youth who avoid traditional services because of homophobia and transphobia:

Ontario Supports LGBTQ2S Crisis Counselling

3. Ontario Passes Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act

There will be an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan with enrollment beginning in January 2017 and contributions made by employees and employers beginning in January 2018:

Ontario Passes Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act

This news story examines the ongoing question of whether the federal CPP will be reformed and if so, how it might affect the nascent ORPP:

Ontario to Forge Ahead with ORPP if no Deal Reached on CPP:  Wynne
4.  Ontario Continues Focus on Anti-Smoking Strategy

The province announced a series of measures including increased funding and the Heather Crowe Awards recipients in recognition of the 10th anniversary of their smoking cessation strategy:

Helping More Ontarians Quit Smoking
5.  Ontario's Residential School Apology

In step with the announced indigenous peoples healthcare strategy announced last week, the Ontario government also formally apologized for the past practices of past governments of "cultural genocide":

Ontario's Formal Residential School Apology Sets Precedent:  Indigenous Leaders

6.  The Significance of the Federal Transgender Legislation

Susan Gapka co-authored this Op-Ed about the recent tabling of trans rights legislation in the House of Commons:

It's About Time the Federal Government Stood Up for Transgender Canadians

7.  Toronto Judge Won't Press Legal Action Until Government Pays for Defendant's Lawyer

A person on trial in court who had been denied Legal Aid has found out that his charges are being halted by the judge until the government offers financial assistance for a lawyer; the judge moreover had words about the unrealistic thresholds for eligibility for Legal Aid:

Ontario Judge Halts Charges Against Man Until Government Pays for Lawyer

Here's more from the lawyers' perspective:

Nordheimer Calls Legal Aid Cutoffs Unrealistic

This is what Legal Aid Ontario had to say on their website:

Update on Financial Eligibility Certificate Processes

8.  Mental Health of Students Affected by Debt

Schools Look to Address Mental Health Effect of Student Debt

9.  The Pros and Cons of Coroner's Inquests

The author of this piece makes the conclusion that a coroner's inquest avoids the question of accountability that would be raised in a criminal court:

Why Coroner's Inquests in Ontario isn't as Useful as You Think

10.  10 Years After the Kirby Report:  Much Left to be Done

This interview with one of the senators from the original Kirby Commission looks at what has transpired in the last decade -- and the funding recommendations that have not yet come to pass:

Why the Kirby Report on Mental Health Still Matters:  Senator Jane Cordy

11.  Peer-Based Hospital Transitional Discharge at CAMH

The Welcome Basket program is profiled in this blog entry:

Helping Transform Hospital Discharges

12.  Loneliness Viewed Through the Lens of a Health Reporter

For André Picard, the Globe and Mail health reporter, social isolation is an underestimated determinant of health:

All the Lonely People


13.  Health Quality Ontario Seeks Feedback on Draft Mental Health Standards

This provincial health agency has drafted Quality Standards for three mental health conditions:  Schizophrenia, Serious Depression and Dementia.  They are looking for feedback.  Each of the three comes with a quality standard and a patient reference guide.  You are invited to email feedback by June 14, 2016. 

14.  Toronto Star highlights Youth Psychosis and Marijuana

The Liberals campaigned for marijuana legalization on the basis of keeping the drug out of younger people's hands.  Here is a summary of the latest research:

Pot Psychosis Linked to Early "Dangerous" Use

Another political signal that the federal government will taking a cautious reform approach is the appointment of a former Justice and Health Minister from the Chretien government, who did not take action on marijuana reform:

New Hire is a Sign Ottawa is Taking a Strict Line on Recreational Marijuana

15.  Do Opioids Have a Role to Play in Mood Regulation?

This columnist (a practicing psychiatrist) wonders:

Are Opioids the Next Antidepressants?

Lest we get ahead of ourselves, the confirmation of Prince's death from an overdose of fentanyl raises some questions:

Fentanyl and Other Opioids for Chronic Pain Put Patients on a Dangerous Slope

16.  The Promise of Smart Drugs (not Caffeine)

A drug used for treatment of sleep disorder can also provide greater focus, alertness and creativity for people who take it:

Time to Wise Up to Smart Drugs


17.  Humourous Video Reminds Us Google is not your Doctor

When You Look Up Your Symptoms Online

18.   Take it Easy with the Use of Social Media

Are we fabricating unrealistically cheerful personalities online?

Social Media is Proving a Detriment to our Mental Health

19.    "How Not to be Hard on Yourself"

This simple poster has been shared 38 times and received almost 4,000 impressions on OPDI's FB.


20.  Crisis Worker Conference in Burlington June 17 - 19

For information and registration on the "Making Change" conference, please visit the website.

21.  Sharing Your Voice Workshop for Persons and Families with Lived Experience of Opioids (repeat)

Check out this poster on attending a public speaking workshop Tuesday, June 28th with Sean Leblanc (Drug Users Advocacy League, Ottawa) and Betty Lou Kristy (family advocate, Halton).  Breakfast, lunch, honorarium and travel costs are covered for participants.

22.  Job Postings

The Toronto peer initiative Sound Times is hiring a full-time Community Service Worker.
23.  PSR/RPS Conference in Thunder Bay June 21-22

As well, there will be a Pre-Conference Institute June 20 featuring Pat Deegan and Karyn Baker. Full details and registration information are available here.

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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.