OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #517 March 27, 2017

Highlights include: 2017 Federal Budget; Basic Income Project; Federal Marijuana Framework Coming; Journal of Recovery in Mental Health Premier Issue; Social Enterprise and Public Health; Call for Abstracts; SSC Survey; Job Postings; 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.



Internship Webinar:

The next OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar will be held Wednesday, April 5th from 12 noon to 1 pm Toronto time.  If you have completed the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ 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

Ontario's Minimum Wage will increase to $11.60 this October 1st:

Ontario Increases Minimum Wage to Support Workers and Families

The financial eligibility threshold for Ontario Legal Aid has increased again, meaning more people on low incomes are eligible for legal advice regardless of ability to pay:

Ontario Providing Improved Access to Legal Services

The latest annual Poverty Reduction Strategy Annual Report has been released:

Ontario Building a Better Future for People Living in Poverty

2.  Federal Budget 2017

The webpage with the information on the federal budget can be found here.

For those interested in reading about the Canada Health Transfer and the funding for mental health, go to the Budget Plan and begin reading at page 156.

3.  Budget Analyses

Steve Lurie spells out the significance of the confirmed mental health funding for the next 10 years in this Facebook post.

The Wellesley Institute assesses how much of the $11.2 billion over the next 11 years will go to building new units and how much will be used to fix social housing/create rental allowances:

Housing in the 2017 Budget:  The Broad Picture

The Income Security Advocacy Centre does not have much to report on income benefits:

The 2017 Federal Budget and Income Security

4.  "The Preventable Epidemic"

Here are the first two of three in-depth pieces on how Toronto is planning to cope with the opioid crisis:

How Safe Injection Sites are Being Brought to Toronto

How Harm Reduction Helps to Prevent Overdoses

5.  Housing as a Social Determinant of Health (and Stress)

Housing stress is profiled in this article about Toronto's lack of affordable rental accommodation:

No Fixed Address:  How Skyrocketing GTA Rents Left this Woman an "Emotional Mess"

6.  Two Toronto Police Service Taser Incidents in the News

Police have been cleared in the death of a man tasered eight times in the bathtub and who subsequently passed away in hospital:

Toronto Police Cleared in Death of Man Tasered Eight Times in Bathtub

An investigation from another incident resulting in death this past summer remains incomplete, although there is no mention of it in the just-published annual report of Taser incidents:

Toronto Police Say No One Died from a Taser in 2016 -- But a Prominent Lawyer Disagrees

7.  Burlington Area Seeks Mental Health Hospital Bed Expansion

The local hospital, with the support of its LHIN, wants to double the current number of mental health inpatient beds.  This nuanced article looks at the pros and cons of the proposition and considers whether offering more community-based services would work as well.

Joseph Brant Pitches $20-Million Expansion to Mental Health Care

8.   Jack.org Youth Mental Health Conference

200 peers from post-secondary institutions across Canada met last week in Toronto to exchange ideas about accessing mental health and addiction services during their schooling:

Student Advocates share Ideas on Post-Secondary Mental Health Services

9.  Innovative Practice:  Teens Develop Mental Health Curriculum Using Film

Students from three Toronto private high schools have created a film to educate their peers around resilience and mental health:

Teens Draw on Experience to Create Mental Health Program for High School

10.  Response to Last Fall's Ontario Discussion Paper on Basic Income

The results of public consultations and an online survey have been positive to the idea of the basic income project, and a three-year trial is set to begin later this spring.  However, the idea of raising welfare rates immediately also drew support:

Pilot Project to Introduce a Basic Income in Ontario Gets Strong Public Support

11.  Outlines of  Federal Marijuana Legalization Framework Take Shape

July 1st, 2018 is the target date for the legalization of marijuana, but each province will be given the authority to decide on how the drug will be distributed and sold:

Liberals to Announce Marijuana Will be Legal by July 1st, 2018


12.  Resource:  Performance Measurement in Mental Health and Addictions (repeat)

Deb Sherman (OPDI) and Betty Lou Kristy (Mississauga Halton Peer Support Substance Use Lead) have contributed significantly to these two pieces, which are part of the Ontario DTFP (Drug Treatment Funding Program).

"Strengthening Performance Measurement for Mental Health and Addiction in Ontario" uses a broad literature search to tease out possible predictors that could help organizations show their accountability through reported outcomes.  It should be read as an introduction to an important discussion topic as the work of the E-QIP -- Excellence Through Quality Improvement Project nears completion.

The shorter "Performance Measurement in Peer Support Services" report looks in greater detail at the sparse but critical literature around measuring the performance of peer support services.  The authors have deliberately stressed the issues of autonomy, power imbalance, and the distinctiveness of what peer workers do.

13.  Two Important Legal Decisions on Accommodating an Addiction Disability and Providing Medical Documentation for a Disability

The March 2017 e-newsletter of the ARCH Disability Law Centre writes up two important legal rulings; we have attached the PDF for your information.

14.  The State of Community Mental Health and Addictions Services Across Canada

The CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) has released a report with an overview of Canadian data in community mental health and addictions services laid out from province to province:

Community Mental Health and Addiction Information:  A Snapshot of Data Collection and Reporting in Canada

15.  Ontario Shores Publishes First Issue of "Journal of Recovery in Mental Health"

The premiere issue can be accessed online here.

16.   Social Enterprise and Public Health

This short article in the March 20th, 2017 edition of Canadian Medical Association Journal makes the case for entrepreneurial social enterprise contributing to well-being as well as improving social capital and cites one "crazy business" among examples:

Action on the Social Determinants of Health Through Social Enterprise

17.  Coping with Bipolar Disorder

The New York Times interviewed five people and included short audio clips allowing them to express themselves in their own words:

Patient Voices:  Bipolar Disorder

18.  A Dissenting View of Psychiatry from a Psychiatrist

His views of some truisms of his profession are provoking and hard to contradict.  The way in which he chooses to practice (minimal drugs, few admissions to hospitals, and disdain for involuntary committal) also bear pause:

Mainstream Western Psychiatry - Science or Non-Science?

19.  First Person Account of a Voice Hearer

In this peer reviewed article, we see the strands of circumstances in a disruptive life that creates trauma and how the writer has come back to understand and accept her authentic self in relation to her world:

Listening and Hearing:  A Voice Hearer's Invitation into Relationship

20.  Opioid Use Injuries

With so munch attention being paid to overdose deaths from opioids, the subject of non-fatal injuries has been understated:

In Between Life and Death, Opioid Use Can Cause Dozens of Injuries

21.  Telemedicine (Not Covered by OHIP)

For a fee, registered patients can access a virtual appointment with a primary care doctor via video:

What the Uber of Health Care Means for Ontario Patients


22.  Upcoming Journal of Ethics in Mental Health -- Call for Abstracts

The issue will be co-edited by Lucy Costa and Jijian Voronka and the theme is "Disordering Social Inclusion".  The deadline to submit an abstract is March 31st.  You can find out more here.

23.  AMHO Conference Registration Now Available

You can register here for the May 28-30 conference at the Sheraton Airport Hotel.

24.  Job Postings

NISA (Sudbury CSI) has two vacancies for Bilingual Regional Warm Line Support Workers.

Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa needs a Peer Support Worker -- Casual Basis.

The position of Executive Director for Hamilton Mental Health Outreach is available.
25.  Schizophrenia Society of Canada
The Schizophrenia Society of Canada is a national registered charity that has been in operation since 1979. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected by schizophrenia and psychosis through education, support programs, public policy and research. The SSC works in partnership with its 10 provincial partners to develop resources, strengthen its influence and inform its public policy and advocacy efforts. Learn more: http://www.schizophrenia.ca/about.php.
Through a recent environmental scan and literature review, the Society has identified important trends and recommendations to consider in its strategic planning.  The SSC wants to hear from you how it can strengthen its focus in being helpful and relevant to people living with schizophrenia and psychosis and their loved ones.

This survey is open to anyone in Canada with an interest in schizophrenia and psychosis.  It will take approximately 20 minutes, is anonymous, and confidential.   Hearing from you is IMPORTANT in helping guide and shape our future direction.

SSC Future Directions Survey

26.  CAMH PSSP Opioid Resource Hub Strengthening Your Voice Lived Experience/Family Speakers Training

Strengthening Your Voice trains people with lived experience (or family member) of problematic use of opioids in sharing their stories with others. This training is inclusive of and honours all recovery choices (including methadone and other harm reduction options, abstinence, and 12-step approaches.

Please consult the flyer for information on how to apply for this Toronto training event (deadline is April 10).

27.  Provincial HSJCC 2017 Provincial Conference -- March 31st Deadline to Submit Abstracts

The 2017 Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee 2017 Provincial Conference is taking place November 20 - 22 in Toronto and you can view the call for abstracts here.
28.  Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Conference June 2-3 in Ottawa

Registration is now open.

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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.