OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #506 December 7, 2016

Highlights include: Major Health and Housing Legislation Passes; Health Care Transfers in the News; Federal Marijuana Report Expectations; Carfentanil Hits Ontario Streets; Ontario Patient and Family Advisory Council; Accessibility Directorate Outlines New Requirements for January 1st; OPDI Peer Support Core Internship Webinar in New Year; 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.


CLARIFICATION:  OPDI's Definition of Peer Support
It has come to our attention that OPDI’s definition of "peer support" is not always being used in its entirety.  The definition was created and adopted by the membership of OPDI.  It may be quoted or shared only in its entirety, without alteration or editing, and with credit being given to OPDI.  We have attached a slide for clarification.  Thank you.


1.  Ontario Newsroom

a)  Bill 41, The Patients First Act has passed.  The press release with a backgrounder highlighting the changes (including amendments to the original bill) is available.

Early indications are that physicians, who feel they have not been meaningfully consulted in the legislation, are restive:

Family Doctors Refuse to Help with Healthcare Overhaul

b)  Bill 7, Promoting Housing Affordability Act has passed.  The review of four existing pieces of legislation was meant to loosen rules that allow for inclusionary zoning (municipalities can require a portion of a new housing development include affordable units), secondary suites, more flexible administration of social housing,and prevent unnecessary evictions.  The press release with a backgrounder is available.

c)  The province announced measures to speed up the justice system which includes hiring of more judges, prosecutors, and trial staff, as well as improving the current bail system:

Ontario Making Criminal Justice System Faster and Fairer

2.  Bill 41 Committee Hearing Transcripts

Only now is the third transcript of five days of hearings into the Patients First Bill is available via Hansard -- that for November 21.  The comments from Christine Elliott, Patient Ombudsman, who thinks that she  'should be the specialized, single point of access for all patient health care complaints relating to the local health integration networks, including the health service providers for which the LHINs are responsible'.  It remains to be seen if this proposal will be taken seriously by the Liberal government.

3.  A Flurry of Activity on the Health Transfers File

The Prime Minister has agreed to meet with the Premiers to discuss health care after finalizing a climate change plan Friday:

Premiers to Push PM on Health Transfers After Climate Talks Wrap Up

Government Undecided on Transfer Payments:  Philpott

Ottawa Open to Long-Term Health Accord with Provinces:  Source

A coalition of mental health and addictions stakeholders publicize their last-minute pitch for funding:

Pay Now or Pay Even More Later:  Coalition Wants First Ministers to Boost Mental Health Spending

4.  A Person with Autism Doesn't Get Treated but is a "Bed Blocker" in a Psych Ward for a Year

This untenable situation of an example of inappropriate care, unwise use of mental health resources, and the lack of community-based supportive housing is profiled:

Autistic Man Locked on Hospital Psych Ward Waiting for a Home

5.  First Nations Grand Chief Speaks Out:  Recent Suicides of Young People Linked to Abuse

The acknowledgement comes with a request for political action and more front-line intervention:

Sex Abuse Likely Linked to Suicides on Northern Reserves:  Grand Chief

6.  Correctional Services Minister Has Expectations of Sapers Review

David Orazietti cites jail physical conditions, staffing, smuggling of contraband, and mental health treatment to be among the subjects to be covered by the consultant:

Orazietti Expects Far-Reaching Jail Review

7.  Inmate Removed from Life Support After Suicide Attempt in Ottawa Jail

Justin St. Amour had a diagnosis of schizophrenia:

Inmate Who Attempted Suicide at Ottawa Jail Removed from Life Support

Lawyer Says Jail Didn't Notify Her after Mentally Ill Client Hanged Himself

Mentally Ill Prisoner on Life Support after Suicide Attempt

Here's an informative report with statistics on the 28%  of Ontario inmates with mental health issues:

More than a Quarter of Ontario's Prisoners have Mental Health Issues.  That's a Huge Problem.

In related news, the Ontario Ombudsman will investigate solitary confinement in jails:

Ontario Ombudsman Launches Investigation into the Use of Solitary Confinement in Jails

8.  Impending Federal Report on Legalization of Marijuana Raises Questions

This article outlines the main issues at hand in making pot legally available:

8 Burning Questions About the Coming Federal Pot Report

Researchers weigh in on the monitoring of the impact of legalization:

Ottawa Must Monitor How Legal Pot Could Hurt and Help:  Experts

9.  Stark Warning about Carfentanil Being Circulated in Toronto
This poster is being distributed by Toronto Public Health's Harm Reduction Program, The Works:

Two related news stories explains the showing up of the deadly opioid in the province (also in Waterloo Region):

Deadly Elephant Tranquilizer Found in Toronto Street Drugs for 1st Time

Ontario Street Drugs Test Positive for Carfentanil for First Time:  Health Canada

10.  A Profile of Burlington's Drug Court

This is a comprehensive profile of a less punitive and more treatment-focused approach to addiction (with quotes from a range of participants):

Drug Court

11.  The Cost of Poverty in Toronto (repeat)

We have the Social Planning Council of Toronto press release.  It links to the report.

Toronto physician Dr. Gary Bloch offers an Op-Ed in the Toronto Star as to how poverty impacts society:

The Cost of Poverty Affects Us All


12.  New York Peer Specialist Profiles Her Job

Here's a persuasive case for a peer specialist written by one:

The Peer Specialist:  A Vital Professional in Mental Health Care

13.  Sexual Minorities are Being Excluded from Mental Health Care in Ontario

While the LGBT population is more likely to experience mental health issues and to struggle with self-harm and suicide, a new Ontario study finds that this target population was more likely to report unmet needs for mental health services:

Ontario Transgender and Bisexual Women are Excluded from Mental Health Care, Experts Say

14.  New CAMH Study Shows Increased Use of Marijuana, Higher Incidence of Distracted Driving, and Electronic Devices Overuse

The overwhelming potpourri of statistics from the CAMH Monitor Survey has led to news stories with differing points of emphasis:

Marijuana Use in Ontario on the Rise, as is Driving Under Drug's Influence

Nearly 1 in 5 Young Adults Shows "Problematic" Use of Electronic Devices

Why Your Phone and the "Fear Of Missing Out" May Negatively Impact Your Mental Health

The originating CAMH press release is here.

15.  Research Study to Establish Best Practices in Campus Mental Health Programs

A Maritime consortium of 5 post-secondary institutions are working together on a framework of mental health care which teaches mental health literacy and that which will get students the care that they need:

Study Aims to Find Out Which Campus Mental Health Programs Work

16.  Resource for Families of Persons Diagnosed with Schizophrenia

CAMH plans to soon release a guide geared for families that offers supports around the cognitive issues that hamper people's recovery.  TO learn more, and to sign up for the mailing list around this project, check out this link.

17.  A Profile of Living in Solitude and Loneliness

A Globe and Mail feature writer takes a look at social isolation, a sign of cultural failing:

Life of Solitude:  A Loneliness Crisis is Looming

18.  An Introvert's Guide to Surviving the Holidays

The popularity of this Facebook post (371 people reached) was unexpected:

47 Per Cent of People are Shy

19.  Snapshot of Toronto Post-Secondary Institution Mental Health Services

This article offers a survey of the variety of mental health wellness initiatives beyond counselling at each of the Toronto-area campuses.

What Toronto Colleges and Universities are Doing to Help Students' Mental Health

20.  San Francisco has a Therapy Pig

If you don't have your own pet pig to fly with you, this is the next best thing:

San Francisco Airport Introduces First "Therapy Pig"


21.  Accessibility Directorate Outlines New Requirements for Organizations in New Year

Please read the December 2016 newsletter for the details.
22.  Patient and Family Advisory Council for Ontario

This Healthy Debate Opinion outlines the rationale for this move by the provincial government:

It's Time to Put the Patient in Queen's Park

Please refer to this October press release to access the e-mail address with which to make an inquiry to apply.

23.  Clarification on OW and ODSP Drug Benefit Cards

Please review this memo from the Income Security Advocacy Centre if you have any questions about the change from drug cards to using OHIP cards to obtain your prescription drugs.

24.  Learn More about MedsCheck

This is a memo for healthcare professionals; however you can learn from this how to request a yearly check of your medications.

25.  Crisis Line Available for the Southwest LHIN

The English crisis line is called Reach Out.

Now there is a French-language one as well.

Read about it here.

Both services are available 24/7.

26.  Self-Help Resource Centre Offers Novel "Exchange for Change" Fundraising Initiative
Check out their Indiegogo web page.

27.  OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program - Webinar for Participants on Starting an Internship
Have you achieved the Level 1R in OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials (TM) in the past year or two and wondered about the next step -- the practicum to earn the final certificate?  Or are you a prospective employer or potential placement supervisor curious to learn more about having a peer supporter in your workplace? Find out more and get your questions answered.  The next OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar will be held Wednesday, January 11th from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.   Please e-mail opdi@opdi.org and the information to login will be sent to you.

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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.