OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #499 October 11, 2016

Highlights include:Personal Health information Privatization; Drug Impaired Penalties for Ontario Drivers; Ontario Human Rights Commission Updates Discrimination Based on Disability Policy; Birth Control Pill and Depression; AMHO Community of Practice;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

This was announced quietly on a Friday afternoon preceding a long holiday weekend from the Ministry of Health:  an unpaid private adviser will inform the Ontario Government on how to "monetize" Ontario's digital health assets.

The press release and plain-language media stories follow:

Statement from Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on Digital Health

Ontario Liberals Want Privatization Guru to Assess Cash Value of eHealth

Protection of Personal Health Information is Paramount in this Review -- Hoskins

As expected, the Patients First Act (Bill 41) was reintroduced from the last session of the Legislature.  The press release is here.

A deeper analysis of whether transformational change is possible can be read here.

The province has taken measures to reduce hospital parking costs for visitors:

Ontario Making Hospital Parking More Affordable

A related article is here:

Ontario Government Reduces Hospital Parking Fees for Frequent Visitors

2.  Harsher Drug-Impaired Penalties for Drivers Now in Effect in Ontario

Please read this press release for more details:

Tougher Penalties for Drug-Impaired Drivers Coming October 2

More background information and an interview with a MADD speaker is featured here:

Ontario Drivers High on Drugs Lose their Licences Temporarily as New Rules Take Effect

3.  Post-Secondary Mental Health Crisis in Ontario

This news story emerged out of a survey conducted by the Ontario University and College Health Association (representing health service providers on campus) and got a big splash as it led up to Mental Illness Awareness Week:

Ontario Campus Counsellors Say They are Drowning in Mental Health Needs

This report from Kingston shows that all matters of mental health services including peer support are overloaded:

Mental Health Crisis at Post-Secondary institutions

4.  Quebec Takes Steps to Create New Safe injection Sites in Montreal

These steps include obtaining required funding ($12 million) and taking steps to satisfy Health Canada's criteria:

Quebec to Invest $12M in Safe Injection Sites

5.  Ontario Human Rights Commission Updates Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability

Please check the press release on the new policy that updates the previous edition from 2001.

6.  Opioids in the News:  National Conference, B.C. Opioids Task Force, and Free Heroin

While not yet official, the federal government and all provinces will be involved, with the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care being a co-host:

Canada to Hold a Federal Summit to Address the Opioid Crisis

Also, learn from this Op-Ed why Bill C-2 passed by the Harper government remains a serious impediment to safe injection sites in the country:

Vancouver's Safer Injection Sites Stalled as Overdose Toll Mounts

The rationale for the B.C. clinic's practice of giving out prescribed heroin for free is explained in this profile:

B.C.'s Clinic Free Heroin Enables Clients "to have a Meaningful Life Again", Coordinator Says

In a related matter, a B.C. opioids task force has now been in action for two months.  An addictions doctor questions current approaches, and a substance user asks why no peers are on that task force.

The System Hasn't Broken; it's yet to be Built:  B.C. Opioid Task Force Member

Former Drug User Says Big Changes are Needed to Treat Addiction

7.  His Own Story:  Opioids User in Recovery

This man (in his own words) explains how he was prescribed opioids, became addicted, and the long process of ongoing recovery (and how one doctor made a special difference):

Healthy Debate:  Faces of Healthcare (Kevin)

8.  City of Toronto Holds Summit on Housing

These stories relate the agenda and outcomes from this meeting, and related policy position of other stakeholders expressed this past week:

About 200 Stakeholders Participating in Toronto Summit on Affordable Housing

Big City Mayors Call for National Housing Strategy

Canadian Cities' Homelessness Plans Doomed to Fail without Federal Cash

Homeless Advocates Push Feds for Housing Help

9.   Innovative Practice:  North Bay Regional Mental Health Centre and PhotoVOICE

By offering cameras to inpatients, the mental health centre was able to gather self-expressions of what recovery in mental health meant through words and pictures.  The press release is here.

10.  The Patient Advocate Dilemma and "Standardized Patients' in Psychiatric Teaching

This blog entry by a patient advocate who is often asked to attend medical conferences as a "token" patient and cites all the reasons why such an honour can be hard to accept rings true:

"My Open Letter to "Patients Included" Conferences"

In a related story, learn how a U of T psychiatry professor uses "standarized patients" (actors) to educate future doctors on how to work with patients going through a hard time:

How Actors Help an Award-Winning Doctor Teach his Students

11.  A Visual Look at Overdose Amounts of Heroin and Fentanyl Side by Side

This photo shows how little fentanyl is needed to induce an overdose compared with heroin.  By comparison, the even dealier carfentanil now making its way into street drugs is 100x stronger than fentanyl and has crossed the border into Manitoba:

"It's Scary Stuff":  Deadly Drug Carfentanil Now in Winnipeg

The Hamilton Spectator devoted a feature section to fentanyl:

Bad Medicine:  The Fentanyl Epidemic


12.  Research Study:  Alcohol and Anti-Depressants Follow Same Biological Pathways

The implications are that they work and produce similar effects; that may explain why people self-medicate.

Alcohol Shown to Work in Same Way as Anti-Depressants

13.  Birth Control Pill Use Linked to Depression

Using a Danish study that tracked one million women from that country has uncovered a "potential side effect":

Does Hormonal Birth Control Put Women at Risk for Depression?

14.  Training Psychiatrists to Communicate Better with Clients

This blog entry from the Mental Elf website explains what happens in one research study when one group of psychiatrists were give 12 hours of training and a feedback session compared with another that was practicing "business as usual:.  The trained doctors' therapeutic relationships with clients were deemed to have improved.

15.  U.S. Disability Foundation Report:  Half of all People Killed by U.S. Police Have a Disability

The report draws particular attention to persons with mental health issues and Down Syndrome:

Half of People Killed by Police Have a Disability:  Report

In a related matter, it has been revealed that after a July 2016 shooting, Ottawa police still have not started their upgraded mental health training despite promises to do so:

Few Ottawa Officers Getting Mental Health Training Following Abdi Death, Numbers Show

16.  Resource:  How Addiction and Mental Health Sectors can Collaborate (Update)

The Canadian Centre on ubstance Abuse originally developed this resource and it has been periodically updated (most recently August 2016):

Addiction and Mental Health Care:  Resources to Support Collaboration

17.  Resource:  "Peerology:  A Guide By and For People Who Use Drugs on How to Get Involved"

This 2015 resource is of interest to substance users who want to start a peer support group and to launch different types of peer supports:

Peerology:  A Guide For and By People Who Use Drugs on How to Get Involved

18,  Autism Over-Represented in Homeless Population

It is generally known that  people who self-identify as LBQT are more more at risk for homelessness.  Now researchers in Great Britain are assessing the incidence of people with autism who are euphemistically "rough sleepers":

Charities are Studying the Link between Autism and Homelessness


19.  OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training Expectations Webinar
OPDI is offering the Training Expectations webinar for OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program on Wednesday, October 19th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm.  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 and the information to login will be sent to you.

20.   Announcement of Toronto OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training

Please see the attachment for exciting details about the November 21 – 25, 2016 training program taking place in Toronto.  The registration form is enclosed.  For more information, please email opdi@opdi.org
Please note: this training requires a minimum of 10 participants to run.
On October 20, Health Quality Ontario will host Health Quality Transformation (HQT2016) in Toronto, featuring over 20 breakout sessions that have been developed to align with how to build a quality system, and support the advancement of a just, patient-centred, and high performing health system.  Register here.

21.  Central East Regional Peer Network Launches Facebook Page

Read the press release here.

22.  Job Postings

CMHA York and South Simcoe seeks a Peer Support Worker (part-time), in the Community Connections program.

COTA (Toronto) has a part-time temporary Peer Support Specialist opening in the Health, Home, and Community Program.

The Ontario Brain Injury Association (St. Catharines) is looking for a Community Engagement Coordinator.

These Ontario-advertised public appointment positions are also available
23.  AMHO Core of Practice and AGM November AGM (November 14 and 15)

This event takes place at the Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport and you can register here.

Monday, November 14

Leadership forumfor CEO's & executive directors

Training for front-line providers with Dr. Ken Minkoff - Welcoming Hopeful Integrated Services For Individuals with Co-Occurring Psychiatric and Substance Disorders

Annual General Meeting 11:30 - 12:15

Tuesday, November 15

Community of Practice Meetings (for all attendees):

  • Withdrawal management
  • Residential treatment
  • Community treatment
  • Youth services
  • Supportive Housing

24.  Children's Mental Health Ontario 2016 Conference (repeat)

This takes place November 21-22 in Toronto with a pre-conference day on November 20.  You can read more and register here.

25.  Financial Relief for Low-Income Families Affected by Hydro Costs (repeat)

Consult this website to find how if you are eligible for one of these special programs:

Help for Low-Income Consumers

26.  ODSP Peer Navigator Support Groups Offered by SHRC (repeat)

The next round of registration for groups beginning in December has opened.  Find out more.

27.  OPDI Nominating Committee Letter and Board Application
As you may be aware there are two vacant positions on the Board.  Please find attached a letter from the Nominating Committee Chair, Dylan de la Riviere and a Board application if you are interested in applying.  Please note the deadline date is October 28, 2016.

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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.