CMHA National recently released a position statement on the “Right to Privacy related to Mental Health Information contained within Police Records.” This position statement comes in the wake of the announcement that the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in Ontario will be drafting new legislation on what police services can and cannot disclose. The BC Information and Privacy Commissioner has also issued an order stating that information related to an individual’s mental health should not be included in police information checks.
Late in 2013, Bill S-208, an Act to establish the Canadian Commission on Mental Health and Justice was introduced and received first reading in the Senate. The bill was then sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology in March 2015.
On Wednesday, April 1, 2015, the popular CBC radio program, the Current, took a closer look at the role of the media and how journalists report on mental illness and mental health.
According to the National Trajectory Project, a landmark study published in the March 2015 edition of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, less than one-tenth of Canadians found not criminally responsible (NCR) on account of a mental disorder commit a serious violent crime. Moreover, 72 percent of NCR individuals have at least one psychiatric hospitalization before their offence and less than one percent re-commit a serious violent crime once released back into the community.
In March, Statistics Canada released more data from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD). Data from the CSD is used to present a profile of Canadian adults whose daily activities are limited because of a long-term condition or health-related problem. The new data points to significant labour and income disparities faced by those with disabilities.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has released its annual report Inpatient Hospitalizations, Surgeries and Childbirth Indicators. According to the report, mental health and addictions conditions, such as mood disorders, schizophrenia and other delusional disorders, were among the most common causes for hospitalization nationally and across all provinces and territories except in Nova Scotia and Manitoba.
Homelessness in our northern communities is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging as a much more visible issue since the 1990s. Last week, a panel of experts in homelessness research, policy, advocacy, and social services convened at the Northern Voices on Homelessness forum in Anchorage, Alaska to try to understand what it means to be homeless in the north, why homelessness is on the rise and to exchange ideas on solutions.
The federal government chose Canada’s largest city as the backdrop for its recent announcement of its Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). Ottawa is giving Torontoan additional $86 million to support homelessness prevention and reduction initiatives. It’s welcome news in a city where nearly 9,000 people are waiting for supportive housing and many waiting for over five years to get subsidized housing.
Earlier this week, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) hosted an eastern Canada regional dialogue to discuss their draft Guidelines for Recovery-Oriented Practice. Participants came from as far away as Newfoundland and Labrador and had lively discussion on the history of the consumer/survivor movement, how to define recovery and ways to implement the guideline in the future. The final guidelines will be released by the end of May, 2015.
In a wealthy country like Canada, it is difficult to comprehend why nearly 4.8 million people – one in seven – continue to live in poverty and struggle to pay their rent, feed their families, and meet their basic needs. A national anti-poverty group is highlighting this issue by calling on the federal government to take immediate steps to eradicate their cause.