OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #492 July 25, 2016

Highlights include: OMA and Own Doctors Now in Conflict; High-Dosage Opioids Will Not Be Covered by ODB in January; A New Vision for Policing; Overwhelmed by Trauma in the News; Infographics for your Viewing Pleasure; 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

Doctors opposed to the proposed tentative agreement negotiated between the Ontario Medical Association and the provincial government have forced a general meeting.  The expected process of a non-binding vote on the agreement by the membership followed by a decision by the OMA leadership has therefore been negated:

Doctors' Opposition Stalls OMA Deal with Province

Don't Count on an Agreement between Ontario and its Doctors Just Yet

The province has announced new emergency mental health services funding for Guelph and Wellington County:

Province Invests over $6.5 Million for Health Care in Guelph and Wellington

An additional $100 million is going towards home care and respite services for high-needs patients and their caregivers:

Ontario Investing an Additional $100 Million in Home and Community Care

2.  CAMH Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey on Mental Stress Released

A third of Ontario youth surveyed said that they experienced elevated psychological stress.  These and other highlights are summarized in this CAMH press:

CAMH:  One-third of Ontario Students Report Elevated Psychological Stress, CAMH Survey Shows

More highlights in this blog entry:

New CAMH Survey Results Show 10 Per Cent Increase in Psychological Distress Among Ontario Students

3.  Ontario to Stop Paying for High Dosage Opioids

Those prescriptions would not longer be covered under the ODB program, which offers free and low-cost medications to those on social assistance and seniors, in an attempt to cut down on their misuse:

Ontario to Stop Paying for Higher-Strength Opioid Painkillers

4.  How Ontario's New Patient Ombudsman Works

This article features an interview with Christine Elliott and an explanation of how her office will work with patients and caregivers:

How can Ontario's Patient Ombudsman Address Patient Concerns?

In another article with a related subject, the writer shares the six aspects by which patients can strive to improve their health through self-responsibility:

The Six Most Important Patient Faux Pas, According to Doctors

5.  Innovative Practice:  Nova Scotia First Province to Allow Doctors to Bill for Physician-Patient Phone Calls

The article quotes a doctor saying it improves access to care while improving patient convenience and satisfaction:

Nova Scotia to Pay for Doctor-Patient Phone Calls (CMAJ)

6.  Former Candidate for Toronto Police Chief Lays Out a New Vision for Policing

In light of recent developments, Peter Sloly lays out several milestones that current police forces must negotiate in order to transition into a harm-reduction model that balances the current enforcement focus of modern policing, and the need to practice diversity while reshaping the culture of police itself:

There is a Problem with our Policing

In related news, Vancouver police are taking a new approach to working with those with mental health issues:

Vancouver Police Unveil "Very Important" Mental Health Shift

7.  Canada's Prisons Watchdog Calls for End to Solitary Confinement

Despite inquest recommendations, changes have yet to happen with this practice of segregating people in prison:

Howard Sapers Urges Legal Limits on Prison Segregation


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

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.  Resource:  Staying Mentally Healthy with Technology

In this excerpt from B.C.'s "Here to Help" website, is a wellness module from CMHA BC detailing how to stay mentally healthy with technology:

Wellness Module 10:  Staying Healthy with Technology

10.  Are you Overwhelmed by Trauma Reported in the News?

This brief article by an MD suggests several ways in which to cope:

Coping with Large-Scale Tragedies

11.  Should Hospitals Embrace Harm Reduction?

The writer lays out a case for being more honest with opioid users who are in hospital in acknowledging their special needs:

Hospital Policies Put the Lives of People who Inject Drugs at Risk, Say Experts


12.  Life is Short (cartoon)

13.  The Self-Care Continuum

You can learn more about what this diagram means:

What do we mean by Self-Care and Why is it Good for People?

14.   18 Things Mentally Strong People Do (from teenmentalhealth.org)

15.  Focus in the Age of Distraction


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!

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.  Housing, Health and Justice Community of Interest Has a Survey of Interest to Persons with Lived Experience of Mental Health and Addictions who have Experienced Correctional Custody

Read more and access the survey here.

19.  Job Postings

CMHA, Ontario has a full-time 12-month position for a Policy Analyst. (repeat)  They are also hiring a Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee Network Coordinator, also for a 12-month position.

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

(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.  Routes -- a Peer-Run Program of CMHA Toronto

This program has launched.  You can read about it here and access their monthly calendar.

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.