OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #491 July 18, 2016

Highlights include:CONNECT Still Without Funding; Toronto Approves Supervised Injection Sites; Toronto Police Services, Attempted Suicide Information, and US Customs; PEP in the News; Pokemon Go and Your Mental Health; Survey of Interest to Peer Support Workers; 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. Ontario Newsroom

The Ontario government and the Ontario Medical Association have come to a tentative 4-year agreement on funding for physician services for the next 4 years:

Ontario and OMA Reach Tentative Agreement

Two news pieces reporting on this are included below:

Ontario, OMA Agree to Clamp Down on High-Billing Doctors

Why are Negotiations between the Province an the OMA Always so Awful?

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario is being given funding to train healthcare providers in children and youth mental health:

Ontario Invests in Mental Health Training to Support Children and Youth

2.  CONNECT Still has no Funding

We reported last February the apparent success of CONNECT, our London CSI member, who had been diligently requesting funding from the South West LHIN to continue its peer support work.  Here's a progress report:

Funding Hold-Up Hurts

3.  Police Officers Cleared in Death of Man Awaiting Deportation

As the story indicates, the individual had severe mental health issues, which makes one wonder why he was being held in isolation in a health centre and not receiving more specialized care:

No Charges Against Officers in Death of Man Awaiting Deportation:  SIU

4.  Toronto City Council Approves Supervised Injection Sites

Additional steps for approval are needed at the provincial and federal level before they can become reality:

Toronto City Councillors Vote in Favour of Safe Injection Sites

5.  Information and Privacy Commissioner Withdraws Legal Complaint against Toronto Police Services

The Toronto Police Service and the RCMP have since set restrictions on how suicide-related information can be passed along to U.S. Customs officials.  We have the IPC press release and a news story also:

Information and Privacy Commissioner Withdraws Legal Action Against Toronto Police

Privacy Watchdog Withdraws from Toronto Police Case Over Attempted Suicide Info

6.  Sweat Lodges and Indigenous Mental Health

The recent opening of a sweat lodge at CAMH is another sign of mainstream healthcare working with First Nations culture:

Health Centres Embrace Sweat Lodges to Help Indigenous Patients

7.  PEP (North Bay CSI) Opens Photo Studio

It's an out-of-the-box and compelling approach to wellness that offers a learning and possible employment opportunities to people with lived experience of mental health and addictions:

PEP Launching Photo Studio


8.  Racialized Populations and Mental Health and Addictions Communities of Interest Webinar

Join the Racialized Populations and Mental Health and Addictions community of interest (CoI) webinar!
Date: July 26, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (EDT)
Register here! Spaces are limited!
This webinar will highlight how organizations can use the Ontario Common Assessment of Need (OCAN) when planning your programs and services.
In this webinar you will learn about:

  • What is the OCAN, who is using it, its value to the mental health system, and potential benefits for equity-related planning at the program, agency & provincial level;
  • Opportunities and challenges that OCAN presents for clients and organizations;
  • Considerations and perspectives from persons with lived experience; and
  • Future plans for OCAN to help regional and provincial planning for programs and services with equity in mind.


  •      Dawnmarie Harriott, Working for Change
  •      Deqa Farah, Fred Victor
  •      Jennifer Zosky, Community Care Information Management
  •      Kevin Barclay, Champlain Local Health Integration Network


  •      Sheela Subramanian, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario

*Please note that the session will be held in English. It will also be recorded and posted on the CoI’s webpage.
To view the flyer or for more information click here.
For more information about the community of interest visit the website.

9.  Pokemon Go Good for your Mental Health

The outside exploration of the world is emotionally healthy:

Pokemon Go Reportedly Helping People's Mental Health, Depression

10.  A Predisposition to Paranoia and Schizophrenia in the Urban Environment

This article summarizes some of the evidence that supports this thesis:

The Mystery of Urban Psychosis

11.  Study of Vaping Suggests E-Cigarette Use by Minors Needs Regulation

This Ontario researcher suggests e-cigarette use could be a gateway to nicotine use:

Growing E-Cigarette Use Among Teens Requires Regulation

12.  Schizophrenia in the Media

Hurtful language and sensationalist violence are too often associated with depictions of this form of mental health issue, in this first-person account:

The Problem with How the Media Portrays Schizophrenia


13.  Six Ways Mental Health and Money Problems Go Hand in Hand

The new British charity Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has detailed how you can end up with debt as a result of mental health issues:

Comfort Spending, Impulse Buys and Lavish Gifts:  6 Ways Mental Health can get you in Debt

14.   #S--TABLEDPEOPLESAY -- a graphic from Twitter

15.  A Great Picture by Steve Paikin (TVO The Agenda) via Twitter


16.  OPDI Board Nominations Now Open! (repeat)

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.

17.  OPDI Lighthouse Awards for 2016 (repeat)

Nominations are open for the 2016 Lighthouse Awards, on this, our 25th Anniversary.

Ontario Peer Development Initiative invites nominations for our 6th annual Lighthouse Awards, to be presented September 22th at our Mobilizing Peer Support Conference and Annual General Meeting event.

There are a total of five potential awards to be presented, in the following categories:

Awards to Individuals include the Peer of the Year Award for excellence in peer support, the Unsung Hero award for someone whose contribution to mental health/addiction work has not been recognized at a provincial level, and the Pay it Forward Award, for someone who has overcome extreme challenges including poverty, and still managed to contribute their time, expertise and support for the good of others.

OPDI will award in one or all of the above three categories, depending upon receiving suitable nominations.

Awards to Organizations include the Innovators Award for organizations, whether peer-run or clinical, that implement innovative practices or ideas to serve clients with mental health/addiction issues; and the Community Builders Award for organizations, media outlets, or public figures who contribute to the mental health/addiction and/or peer support community through their work.  (Hint:  if your organization would like to be nominated in the organization category, you should ask an individual member or a local stakeholder organization to enter on your behalf). 

Whenever awards in both of the above named categories are presented, one will go to an OPDI member and the other to a non-member. 

Download the brochure, poster, and nomination forms below:

Lighthouse Award Brochure Cover    Lighthouse Award Brochure Inside 

Lighthouse Award Poster

Lighthouse Award Nomination Form (Individual)

Lighthouse Award Nomination Form (Organization)

All the best!  And please share widely with your peers and colleagues!

Breaking News -- North East LHIN names Mary Davis, ED of Nipissing Mental Health Housing and Support Services, its Healthy Change Champion (centre).  NMHHHSS won an Innovations Lighthouse Award in 2013 for its "Road to Recovery" Housing Project.  John Bowcott (left) has won a Lighthouse Award himself (2012) as has his organization PEP (2013).  Read more here.

18.  Mental Health Rights Coalition (Hamilton CSI) is Moving! (repeat)

 MHRC will be moving July 13 (closing July 13-15 to accommodate the move).  Their new address will be 103-100 Main Street E. in Hamilton.

19.  Job Postings

CMHA, Ontario has a full-time 12-month position for a Policy Analyst.

Across Boundaries is hiring a Consumer/Survivor Initiatives Coordinator.

20.  McMaster University and United Way of Toronto:  Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario Research Study

(Survey Recommended and Forwarded by a Peer Support Worker)
This researcher is doing some freelance interviewing freelancers, consultants and contract workers (sessional instructors, artists, journalists, writers and more) for the PEPSO study (McMaster U / United Way of Toronto).  As a freelancer / consultant / contractor, I’m hoping to provide a bit more of a friendly and knowledgeable face, and nuanced frame to be able to document some of our experiences.

PEPSO = The Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario has been going on for several years. Yet while "precarious worker" is a term that covers so much these days, it's not always received as the most accurate for freelancers who have chosen to be independent, or scholars who believe themselves to be only temporarily underemployed.
The PEPSO team has had a hard time reaching freelancers, in part because our schedules and whereabouts often have to change on a dime, in part because for us more than for others, our time is money. Also, as you will see on the poster below, we’re especially looking for folks with dependents, and hope to tease out people in the Greater Hamilton Area, but not only. All are welcome.
Transportation costs will be reimbursed and there is a $40 honorarium for the 90 minute session.
If you’d like to participate, please write to me at datejie@solidarityconsicous.org. I hope that you will also consider circulating this poster through your networks as you see fit.

You can find a PDF poster here.

21.  DTFP Webinar Thursday July 21st at 1 pm

Register here.

Contributions and comments are welcome.  Please email to Raymond@opdi.org. “News to Go” in the Subject line: 

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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.