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Improving Employment for People with Mental Illness

September 15, 2010

Proceedings from CMHA Ontario’s Employment Supports Forum, May 31 and June 1, 2010.

Event Summary

CMHA Ontario hosted a two-day employment forum on May 31 and June 1, 2010. The forum brought together employment service providers, and Ontario ministries that fund them, to exchange information and identify issues and options that can be acted upon to strengthen the Ontario employment support system for job seekers living with mental health disabilities.

Service providers who attended are members of the Mental Health Employment Support Network convened by CMHA Ontario. The Network is comprised of employment specialists from community and hospital employment programs, offering employment support services to persons with mental health disabilities. Forty-two service providers represented 22 employment programs across Ontario. Six representatives from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities also took part in this two day event.

The forum engaged participants in mapping “pathways to employment” which illustrate the way job seekers typically access and move through programs on their way to a job. Four pathways to employment were mapped for employment programs funded by the three Ontario ministries specified above, as well as the Routes to Work Program, funded by Service Canada. These maps were the basis for much discussion, including identifying common challenges that service providers experience in delivering employment supports. Recommendations for further action were also identified.

The forum also included a panel presentation consisting of providers from three unique employment programs, who shared their’ lessons’ learned. This was followed by an update on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Aspiring Workforce project, and one on the research agenda currently being developed by the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Knowledge Exchange Network.


Table of Contents

  1. Event Summary
  2. Current State of Employment Supports in Ontario
  3. Pathways to Employment Maps
    • Pathways to Employment: Ministry of Community and Social Services Funded Programs
    • Pathways to Employment: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Funded Programs
    • Pathways to Employment: Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Funded Programs
    • Pathways to Employment: Service Canada-Funded “Routes to Work” Program
  4. Issues Identified Through the Mapping
  5. System Barriers Identified by Forum Participants
  6. Opportunities for Action
  7. Follow up Actions by CMHA Ontario

Appendix A: CMHA Ontario’s Employment Forum 2010 Participants
Appendix B: Presentations
Appendix C: Agenda

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