Ontario is adding more than 80 new mental health and addictions workers across the province to help almost 4,000 Aboriginal children and young people get better access to culturally appropriate mental health and addictions services. These new workers will provide counselling, individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and a range of traditional health services, including traditional teachings and ceremonies. Services will be provided through 30 Aboriginal agencies across the province.
The Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee (HSJCC) is developing an Information Guide on Police-Emergency Room Protocols.
Police officers, by virtue of their role as emergency responders, are often the first to arrive on the scene of a mental health crisis, and they often accompany people to the emergency room. Police officers and emergency room staff can offer unique insight about how to make the emergency room more efficient for all, both in terms of reducing wait times for police officers and increasing care for the person in crisis.
Elections Ontario (EO) is asking the public for feedback on internet and phone voting. The deadline for responses is December 2, 2012. To participate, visit the Elections Ontario website to download a summary of research on the topic and/or complete a survey online (alternative formats also available).
A number of local health integrated networks have recently announced increased funding for mental health and addictions:
The South West Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN) has increased funding support for crisis response, transitional case management and addictions treatment. Details of the funding allocations and recipient organizations can be found at www.southwestlhin.on.ca.
The Wellesley Institute and the Income Security Advocacy Centre have released a report that outlines the potential negative health impacts resulting from elimination of Ontario’s Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB).
The provincial government has released an action plan to build on Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, focusing its first investment on children and youth. “Moving on Mental Health: A system that makes sense for children and youth” outlines areas of system transformation over the next three years. The goal is to define clear pathways to care for parents and young people through a coordinated, responsive system.
A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journalfinds that Ontarians with a mental illness who go to an emergency room (ER) at their hospital, actually have shorter wait times to see a physician during hectic periods, than patients who are not experiencing an episode of mental illness.
The final report by the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario was recently released. Entitled, “Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario,” the report contains 108 recommendations.
On November 5, 2012, the Government of Ontario launched the province’s first immigration strategy. With the strategy, the provincial government seeks to increase its role in making immigration decisions that impact the province socially and economically.
The human rights system needs better coordination states the findings from the Ontario Human Rights Review 2012, released on November 8, 2012.
In August 2011, the Government of Ontario appointed Andrew Pinto to conduct a review of the new human rights system in Ontario. A website and a consultation paper were released that detailed the process of the review. Ontarians, especially individuals who have used the services of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and Ontario Human Rights Commission, were encouraged to participate in the review process through written submissions, oral remarks at public meetings, and oral remarks at stakeholder meetings.