OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #487 June 20, 2016

Highlights include:    OPDI Board Nominations; Analysis of Ontario Cabinet Changes; 2017 Rent Increase Guideline; First Nations Antipsychotics Prescription; A Recovery Journey; ECT, Stigma, and Treatment-Resistant Depression; Recovery Schools; 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 Board Nominations Now Open!

OPDI will have at least two Director positions to fill at our Annual General Meeting September 22nd, 2016.  Please read the attached letter to member organizations and forward it to anyone WITHIN your member organization whom you feel might make a good director. To be eligible, candidates must have

  • direct and personal lived experience of recovery from mental health and/or addiction issues 
  • connection to an OPDI member organization - whether as a staff, or a volunteer, or a member in good standing
  • knowledge and experience to contribute to a well rounded, skilled and diverse team

Directors do not represent their own organization, but rather the needs and interests of member consumer survivor initiatives and peer support organizations and the people served by them.  While representation is not organized around geographic areas, we do attempt to ensure that voices from all parts of the province are included.

The Commitment

OPDI's Board has nine Director positions in total.  Each term of office is for two years, and a director may be re-elected for two additional terms (six years maximum).  The Board meets in person four times a year on a Saturday/half-Sunday in Toronto, and may also hold brief teleconferences and electronic votes as needed, between meetings.  Much of the work is carried out in committee of the whole during these board 'retreats', although from time to time ad hoc committees are struck for specific short tasks.

Nomination Process

An application form is attached, and is due by July 29th.  Please note, a letter from your member organization will be required, confirming that you are a member, staff or volunteer in good standing and that your organization is supportive of your application.  The Nominating Committee will set up interviews with viable candidates during the week of August 8th, and will prepare a slate for dissemination to the membership by August 22nd.  The AGM will take place on September 22nd.

2.  Ontario Newsroom

Full details of the recent Ontario Cabinet shuffle are in this press release.

With the agreement among provinces to update the Canada Pension Plan (including Ontario), it appears that the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan bill that was passed recently will not take effect after all:

CPP Deal Means Ontario Scrapping Pension Plan Proposal, Charles Souza Says

OPDI is a member of the Ontario Nonprofit Network; their newsletter offers a neat summation of the changes to Cabinet as they affect nonprofit organizations' policy priorities:

Ontario Cabinet Shuffle Announced

The rent increase that most landlords can take without going to the Landlord and Tenant Board in 2017 is 1.5%:

Ontario's 2017 Rent Increase Guideline Set at 1.5%

The new federal Canadian Child Benefit begins July 1st.  The province has pledged that for families on social assistance, there will be no claw-back of monies:

Ontario Ensuring Vulnerable Families Keep Full Canada Child Benefit

We have a background story on the federal child benefit and another on how many Ontarians who might be affected by not having this benefit clawed back:

Child Benefit to Pull Record Numbers of Children Out of Poverty, Minister Says

Ontario Families on Welfare to Keep Full Federal Child Benefit

3.  First Nations Prescribing Practices are Different for Psychiatric Drugs

Health Canada, which has jurisdiction over health care on First Nations reserves, offers immediate access to four older-generation antipsychotic medications but requires proof that they do not work (by trying them first) before allowing newer and more appropriate drugs to be prescribed:

Psychiatrist Says Health Canada forces First Nations Try Outdated Meds

4.  Proposed Legislation Affects Non-Profit Housing Providers

Recent legislation was passed that takes effect on July 1st, 2016.  This may be of interest to you if you live in non-profit housing and have scholarships, bursaries, bank accounts, or other provisions affected by the revisions:

Regulatory Changes to the Housing Services Act Announced
5.  Medically Assisted Dying Bill Now Law

Here's the latest update on the legislation:

Liberals' Assisted-Dying Bill is now Law After Clearing Final Hurdles

The complex issue of whether prisoners can request this may not have been resolved in the legislation:

Can Inmates Ask to Die?  Clarity Urged about Doctor-Assisted Death in Prison
6.  Panel Discussion on Addiction (TVO's The Agenda)

From Sarnia in a hospital unit, the show takes a close look at fentanyl addiction:

Facing Fentanyl

7.  Ready for the Liquor and Cannabis Board of Ontario?

The Toronto Star would have you believe so:

Queen's Park Gearing Up for Legalized Weed Sales

8.  Opposing Views on Ottawa Safe Injection Sites

Former Ottawa police chief and deputy chief have opposing views on harm reduction.  A former addict also adds his point of view in the second article:

Ottawa's Former Police Chief and Deputy Chief Take Opposite Sides in Injection Site Debate

Supervised Injection Site up for Debate Monday at Health Board Meeting

The political figure whose opinion might matter most -- the Attorney General and local MPP -- says yes:

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Expresses Support for Ottawa Supervised Injection Site

9.  Innovative Practice:  Another Walk-In Counselling Centre (now in Halton)

An existing service is profiled, with a nod to program expansion and an appeal to help fundraise:

CMHA Walk-in Counselling in Oakville Aims to Tackle Long Waits for Mental Health Services

10.  Backgrounders to the Orlando Mass Killings

A reporter (straight, cisgender) who worked at the gay bar Pulse for two years to cover his education costs found a second family there.  In this firsthand account, you can read his story on having to cover an event at a place he used to know well:

Former UCF Student, Now an AP Reporter, Returns to Cover Orlando Massacre

This journal article offers some insight on homophobia and self-loathing:

Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia?

11.  Poor Choice of Words Matter

This researcher goes so far as to question the name of the funding institute that grants over a billion dollars to U.S. addictions research:

Reframing the Language of Addiction:  Researcher Pushes to Strike the Term "Abuse"

12.  Recovery Journey:  From Researcher to Patient to Researcher and PhD Student

The arc of this person's voyage from schizophrenia researcher to being diagnosed with the very same illness and how he has come back to work and to continue graduate studies in his field is perhaps not as unique as it seems:

A Journey Through Schizophrenia, from Researcher to Patient and Back


13.  The Stigma of ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy)

If ECT is as effective as its supporters claim for treatment-resistant depression, why is it underused?  According to the article, only 1,000 Ontarians out of the estimated 100,000 to 200,00 with this diagnosis are receiving this treatment in any given year.  Could it be the stigma?

ECT:  Is Stigma Preventing Better Care for Depression?

14.  Opioids Use Linked to Higher Risks of Death (not just Overdoses)

Other risk factors such as slowing breathing, can put someone who uses opioids at risk:

Opioids Linked with Deaths Other than Overdoses

15.  CAMH's Listing of Men's Mental Health Resources

Last week was Men's Mental Health Awareness Day, and in honour of that fact, CAMH's blog listed some useful references:

CAMH Library:  Resources for Men's Mental Health Awareness Day

Also available is the new-ish but good Headships.org website.

16.  Recovery Schools in the United States

Recovery schools combine a safe learning environment for teenagers who also get support through addiction groups and undergo regular drug testing as they acquire high school credits:

More Teens Attending Addiction Recovery Schools

17.  Coffee as a Carcinogen

Apparently it isn't unless you take it and any other beverage at very high temperatures, according to the World Health Organization:

Coffee Struck from List of Possible Cancer-Causing Agents

OPDI wishes to add an editorial commentary:


18.  Facebook Suicide Prevention Tools

Friends can report problematic posts and those flagged will be followed up by FB community operations team members (hmm... did you know they existed?)

Facebook Offers Tools for those Who Feel a Friend may be Suicidal

19.   Self-Described Recovery from Depression

This first-person account of what it is like to put one's life back after a bout of depression rings so true with its description of doubt and low energy:

Rediscovering Who You Are After a Depressive Episode

20.    Do You Exercise to Lose Weight?  That may not be the Point.

There are many health benefits of exercise, not just to keep one's weight down:

Why You Should Exercise (No, Not to Lose Weight)


21.  "Think Outside the Box" -- CMHA Ontario's New One-of-a-Kind Free Online Resource on Accommodating a Mental Health Disability

Please refer to this PDF for the webpage and details about how this resource can assist anyone to learn more about mental health disability and accommodation:

Think Outside the Box

22.  Mad Pride Toronto July 11 - 17, 2016 (repeat)

Please find attached a link to the Mad Pride Toronto website, a strategy and discussion event for peer supporters/peer navigators/Mad-identified workers, and calls for volunteers and artists/musicians for the Mad Hatter Street Fair and Marketplace.  Please refer to this PDF poster for all the details.

23.  PSACC Conference Presentations Now Online (repeat)

The presentations from the April 27 - 29th 2016 conference are now online.  Please go to this webpage and click on the "Presentations" menu at the top.  Then point your mouse underneath the title of the presentation you wish to view and it will be available (also downloadable).

24.  AMHO Conference Presentations Now Online (repeat)

You can access last month's conference archive of presentations here.

25.  Job Postings

NISA (Sudbury CSI) is hiring an Outreach Peer Supporter.

PSO (Ottawa CSI) is looking for a Peer Support Worker.
26.  Congratulations to Rise Can Development

This organization uses the principles of entrepreneurship to encourage persons with lived experience of mental health and addictions to obtain loans to start their own businesses.  They have received a $150,000 donation from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). to learn more about Rise Can check out their website:

Rise Asset Development

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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.