Ontario has released its comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions strategy: Open Minds, Healthy Minds.The strategy follows Ontario’s previous mental health strategy, Making It Happen, a recent report from the Select Committee of the Legislature on Mental Health and Addictions,Navigating the Journey to Wellness: The Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Ontarians and the report to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care from the Minister’s Advisory Group, Respect, Recovery and Resilience: Recommendations for Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
The Social Assistance Review Commission (SARC), led by Francis Lankin (former head of the United Way) and Munir Sheikh (former chief statistician with Statistics Canada), has launched a website to house its social assistance review material. It has also released a discussion paper that frames the issues around social assistance and invites feedback from the public.
On June 3, 2011, the Government of Ontario enacted the finalizedIntegrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) under theAccessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). This regulation harmonizes three accessibility standards that support implementation of the AODA in the areas of information and communications, employment and transportation. The regulation also includes general requirements for all areas including the development of accessibility policies and plans, training for employees and volunteers, and accessibility in the context of purchasing goods and services.
At present, service provider capacity and preferences for receiving and using research evidence in the addictions field are not clearly understood. This is an important knowledge gap to address because presenting research findings to providers in formats that are tailored to their needs and preferences facilitates research uptake.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services has recently provided information for anyone who is currently receiving, or is applying for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) payments in the event of a postal strike.
The new Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance (the Alliance) launched its provincial election campaign this week with the release of four key recommendations for Ontario’s political parties. The Alliance is a broad-based coalition of ten organizations from across the province and the continuum of care, including hospital and community-based organizations, as well as well consumer and family member organizations. The Alliance’s goal is to make mental health and addictions a provincial election issue.
Ontario is creating a registry of personal support workers (PSWs) that will ensure better recognition of the work PSWs do in Ontario, as well as help to meet the needs of people they serve. PSWs will have the opportunity to sign up with the registry and provide key information such as:
In conjunction with Houselink Community Homes and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, supportive housing advocates “the Dream Team” have produced a report that proposes four policy changes for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). If implemented, these changes could reduce the current 89 percent unemployment rate among ODSP recipients.
The largest population-based health study ever conducted in North America, the Ontario Health Study (OHS) is attempting to uncover common risk factors that lead to a spectrum of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s and depression. Recruiting Ontarians aged 18 and older, the long-term study aims to arm researchers with information that will help develop strategies for the prevention and treatment of various diseases.
E-Health is working to ensure health care providers will be able to share electronic health information for Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residents, who represent 47 percent of Ontario’s population. Currently, electronic health information is stored in system silos, causing delays, duplication of tests and extra cost. Because of the ConnectingGTA project, it won’t be long before all 700 service providers across the five GTA Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs) are connected under a single “electronic roof”. The E-Health project will enable patient information to securely flow from one service provider to another within the system.