OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #507 December 16, 2016

Highlights include: Legalized Marijuana Framework in Federal Report; Repeal of C-2 Makes Safe Injection Sites More Likely; Health Transfers Talks; Canada a Leader in MH Recovery; Patient Navigators; 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.


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™ in the past year or two and wondered about the next step -- the practicum to earn the final certificate?  Find out more about earning the final Certificate.  The next OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar will be held Wednesday, January 11th from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.  If you have completed the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials (TM) Program and have received a Level 1R you are invited to join if you wish.  Please e-mail opdi@opdi.org and the information to login will be sent to you.


1.  Ontario Newsroom

a)  On the heels of hiring Howard Sapers to review provincial segregation practices in correctional facilities, the Ministers of Health and Long-Term Care and Community Safety and Correctional Services jointly held a news conference to announce new staffing and resources investment in improving rehabilitation and physical facilities for individuals held in solitary confinement and those with a mental health diagnosis:

Ontario Hiring More Staff and Enhancing Supports to Reform Correctional Services

We have two press stories on this (including a quote from OPSEU praising the province):

Ontario Announces $33M Boost for Mental Health Care in Jails

Province Plans to Hire 239 People to Work in Jails

b)  In a recovery-friendly move, people contemplating going back to school will be able to check their eligibility for student grants and loans online:

Ontario Launches New Student Asisstance Calculator

c)  The province is building a new treatment centre in North Bay to host a variety of child and family programs including mental health and autism:

Helping More Children and Families in North Bay

d)  Reforms to the province's children and youth services promise to make them more accountable and to offer better outcomes:

Ontario Strengthening Child Welfare, Improving Outcomes for Youth

2.  Federal Marijuana Report Issued

Health Canada has a press release and a comprehensive list of links including the report here:

Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation

We emphasize press clippings that include a focus on where legal pot might be available in Ontario and where it might be sold:

Pot Task Force Recommends Legal Cannabis Use be Limited to Users 18 and Over

Ontario not Expecting Jackpot to Come from Pot Legalization

Kathleen Wynne Not Ruling Out LCBO Having Role in Marijuana Sales

Canada's Pot Laws Must Consider Risks to Mental Health

3.  Repeal of C-2 and a Harm Reduction Approach  Makes Safe Injection Sites More Likely

The Health Canada website is the best source for a comprehensive grasp of an evidence-based approach to opioids and harm reduction:

Government of Canada Announces New Comprehensive Drug Strategy

Feds Update Anti-Drug Strategy

4. Health Transfers File May Be on Next Week's Agenda

Another First Ministers meeting is possible; in the interim, the province of Ontario has offered a counter-proposal to the federal government on a funding formula:

Ontario Wants Federal Health Transfers Increased 5.2 Per Cent a Year

Provinces to Receive Health Transfers Detail Ahead of Key Meeting

Liberals won't Face Flak from Tories over Tough Stance on Health Funding

Meanwhile the coalition of mental health and addiction stakeholders continues to press for action:

Canadian Mental Health-care Advocates Urge Government for Greater Funding

5.  The Effect of Child Abuse on Health

This timely profile of the work of a U of T professor summarizes some startling conclusions about how physical and mental health are affected:

The Hidden Epidemic

6.  Housing and People with Disablities

This article highlights the difficulty that people with physical disabilities have in getting appropriate housing; it is instructive reading for considering the additional barriers for PWLE (people with lived experience):

No Vacancy

7.  The Impact of the New Promoting Affordable Housing Act

The Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association shares its analysis of what developments the legislation will bring to the sector:

The New Promoting Affordable Housing Act:  What it Means for Ontario's Non-Profit Housing Providers

8.  Innovative Practice:  Peer Support for New Mothers Before and After Birth

This Sudbury CSI finds another way in which one-to-one peer support can benefit those who need it most:

MOMS Offer Help

9. The Importance of Public Transit to a Healthy and Equitable City
For people on fixed income, the issue of transit fares is a matter of health, as this family physician writes:

Toronto Transit Hikes an Unfair Burden to Low-Income Patients

10$600 Million Class Action Lawsuit Launched on Behalf of Inmates in Solitary Confinement

This tactic seems designed to pressure the federal government to act on the pressing needs of those incarcerated who have mental health issues:

Judge Certifes $600M Lawsuit for Mentally Ill Inmates Alledgedly Mistreated

11.  Mental Health Commission of Canada Updates its Recovery Declaration

The revised declaration is a call to action not just to promote an understanding of recovery but to strive for a recovery-oriented mental health system throughout the country.  You are encouraged to read and sign the declaration.


12.  International Survey Acknowledges Canada Among Leaders in MH Recovery Programs

An overview of countries' efforts to effect a recovery-based program approach in mental health and addictions finds a range of supports and services in this country.  The journal piece is available here.  Sadly, one of the co-authors, Dr. Ellot Goldner from UBC passed away unexpectedly last week.  An appreciation can be found here.

13.  Webinar: The Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment (TOSCA) project

Join this webinar to learn about the Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment (TOSCA) Project, recipient of the 2016 Paula Goering Collaborative Research & Knowledge Translation (KT) Award.
The Goering Award acknowledges innovative KT projects in mental health and addictions. Please join us for an address from the TOSCA team, along with brief overviews of other innovative projects in the 2016 competition.
Learn about:

  • The TOSCA project;
  • The Paula Goering Award;
  • Other integrated KT initiatives

Date: January 10, 2017
Time: 10:30 am—12 pm (EST)
Sign up to join in person or via webinarView the flyer. This webinar will be recorded and posted on EENet.ca.
TOSCA is led by Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi (St. Michael’s Hospital), Dr. Carol Strike (Dalla Lana School of Public Health), and Shaun Hopkins and Susan Shepherd (Toronto Public Health). TOSCA studied the feasibility of opening supervised injection services (SIS) in Toronto and Ottawa. Project findings are used by three proposed SIS locations to support their applications for governmental approval to legally operate. The team’s experience shows that evidence, extensive presentation of findings, and strong local champions can move evidence into action. Read more.
Paula was a world‐renowned researcher, educator, mentor, and advocate. She was also a champion of knowledge exchange and the visionary behind EENet. The Goering Award recognizes innovative researcher–decision‐maker collaborative research projects for integrated knowledge translation in the area of mental health and addictions. Stay tuned for the next call in 2018!

14.  Study Shows Proportion of Americans on Psychiatric Drugs

The interesting accompanying statistic tht 85% report prepat prescriptions is an indicator of long-term use as well:

One in 6 American Adults Say They Have Taken Psychiatric Drugs, Report Says

15.  Making the Case for Patient Navigators

Peer support workers are being used to help individuals and families navigate the complex world of mental health and addictions.  This article shows a similarly role for guidance in other critical decision-making areas of health care in the United States:

Patient Navigators can Serve Crucial Roles in Hospitals

16.  A Distorted Mental Health Workplace Policy for Airplane Pilots

When self-disclosure of mental health issues can lead to possibly losing your job, the people flying airplanes are unlikely to treat their symptoms (which can include suicidal thoughts):

1 in 8 Airline Pilots May be Flying with Untreated Depression

17.  Impact of Powerful and Risky Synthetic Drugs Just Beginning

This article contemplates a Brave New World where illicit drug labs comb public patents for hints to make more powerful substances cheaply which can be diluted and sold:

Drug 85 Times as Potent as Marijuana Caused a "Zombielike" State in Brooklyn

18.  Infographic:  Lethal Doses of the Most Abused Drugs

You can read the article here.

19.  Patient Choice and Hospitals

As Bill 41 moves us into the era of sub-LHINs, it is worth reading this analysis from the Harvard Business Review that suggests people make a choice to go to institutions that provide better-quality care, and that social networks and the recommendations of primary physicians also affect decision-making:

Research:  Perhaps Market Forces do Work in Health Care After All

20.  Mainstream Media Story:  Recollections of Being in a Mental Hospital

It's encouraging to see a magazine request and get personal stories from readers about their time living in a mental health institution:

"I Felt I Was Not Worthy of Having Survived"

21.  Dr. Cheryl Forchuk Honoured with Order of Ontario

The mental health researcher and nursing/psychiatry professor at Western has been named for her lasting legacy to the province:

Twenty-Six Exceptional Honourees Named to Order of Ontario


22.  Accessibility Directorate Outlines New Requirements for Organizations in New Year(repeat)

Please read the December 2016 newsletter for the details.
23.  Job Postings

LOFT Community Services (Newmarket) is looking for a permanent part-time Peer Support Worker.


Addictions and Mental Health Ontario is pleased to announce its 2017 Conference to be held at the Sheraton Toronto Airport on May 28, 29 & 30, 2017. Attended by over 300 delegates, their conference continues to grow and deliver important and dynamic information, as well as offer an excellent networking opportunity to all participants.

Interested participants can find the application package on our website here.   The deadline to submit a presentation is January 20, 2017.


CMHA invites you to submit your abstracts for the second annual Mental Health For All Conference, September 18,19 and 20, 2017 in Toronto. 

We invite your abstract submission of a panel, solo or poster presentation. The deadline for abstract submission is Friday, February 24, 2017.

Please review the 'call for abstract' document here or fill out the abstract submission form 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.