The provincial government has appointed new members to Ontario’s new Accessibility Standards Advisory Council. This council is a requirement under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and is tasked with advising government on how to improve accessibility. The council has to power to propose new accessibility standards and review existing ones.
Local physicians are establishing a new program that partners emergency departments (EDs) in smaller community hospitals with larger hospitals. This program is demonstrating encouraging results.
With the release of his 2012-2013 annual report, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin called on the provincial government to expand oversight by making better use of his office’s services.
Where’s Home 2013 is a publication of Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada – Ontario Region. Much of the analysis is from the period between 1996 and 2006 and describes the economic and policy conditions that affect trends in the housing market. The study also paints a picture of the need across the range of housing options. With data provided by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, this edition of Where’s Home 2013 also reports for the first time on units that have received a funding commitment under the province’s Affordable Housing Program.
Through the Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, the Ontario government is aiming to strengthen mental health services for children, youth and their families while reducing stigma and raising awareness of mental health issues.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has released a new provincial summary report: Reducing Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Ontario. The goal of the project was to encourage more uptake of evidence-informed prevention and policy initiatives that reduce alcohol-related harms in Canada. This project documented current alcohol policy initiatives across Canada, drawing comparisons between each provincial approach.. It also highlighted policy strengths in each of these jurisdictions, providing recommendations on how to improve weaker policy areas and disseminate this up-to-date information to major stakeholders and policymakers in each jurisdiction.
After construction delays, the transfer of 15 mental health beds to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) is now being planned for January, 2014, with related ambulatory services moving in December 2013. Construction at the STEGH facility led to transfer of the 15 acute care beds to Regional Mental Health Care London while ambulatory services were relocated within the City of St. Thomas. The transfer to STEGH this fall will be the fourth and final transfer.
On June 11, the Ontario Ombudsman released his report condemning the use of excessive force in the province’s correctional institutes. While prison guards have the right to use physical force to manage inmates, such force should only be used appropriately and only to the degree necessary to gain control. The use of excessive force, the use of force with the intent to cause harm, or the continued use of force beyond what is required to gain control of a situation is not acceptable.
Income impacts mental health with significant implications for the provincial health system. An analysis by the Sudbury District Health Unit (SDHU) found that the most socio-economically deprived neighbourhoods in the City of Sudbury experienced almost four times the rate of mental health-related emergency department (ED) visits than the highest income areas. If all Sudburians experienced the same health as those in the highest income areas, the city would experience a reduction of over 14,000 ED visits per year.
A provincial study has found significant rates of racism or ethnicity-related discrimination experienced among its trans person participants. The study is part of Trans PULSE, a community-based research project exploring the health impacts of discrimination and exclusion on trans people in Ontario.