Newsletter of the Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee
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Human Services and Justice

June 2015

Message from the Co-Chair

Although summer vacations are quickly approaching, there appears to be no sign of rest and relaxation at the Provincial HSJCC. By the end of this month, we will have hosted another webinar (on the Hamilton Rapid Response Team). The webinars continue to be well-attended and received. Links to the each one can be found on the right-hand side of the home page of the HSJCC website.

Plans for upcoming provincial conference continue apace. The theme of this year’s event is “Mobilizing Community: Promoting Resiliency, Sustaining Recovery and Restoring Justice”.  The planning committee has been working very hard to provide a broad range of experience and expertise. Keynotes and workshops will focus on youth, people with lived experience, aboriginal and senior populations.  The conference promises to educational, enlightening and enjoyable!

At our recent Provincial meeting, we had the pleasure of hearing a presentation from staff at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, who provided an update on the “Long-term affordable housing strategy”.  We were asked for feedback on the Ministry’s plans to transform “Ontario’s housing system into one that is people-centred, partnership-based, locally-driven, and fiscally responsible”.  Several PHSJCC committee members provided insight and perspective. MAH staff encouraged members to send them further input. Information about the strategy can be found at:

In the midst of all of this good news, we have something sad to report. Dorina Simeonov, the CMHA Policy Analyst who has tirelessly worked with us for the past two very busy years, is leaving for a new position at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.  While we are happy that she is moving on to another terrific opportunity, we are quite despondent to see her go! Dorina has been an invaluable member of the PHSJCC committee. I cannot overstate how instrumental she has been in the research, development and dissemination of our work.  Dorina is bright, creative, insightful, hard-working, and fundamentally, a fine and lovely human being.  Until a permanent replacement is recruited, Jenna Hitchcox will act as our CMHA Ontario contact.  We are very fortunate to continue working with Jenna, who has been organizing us and our voluminous materials for the past two years.

While I’m on topic of talented people, I would like to thank my co-chair Michael Dunn, who came on board in January of this year, and hit the ground running.  He is smart, funny, and possesses a lot of common sense.

I hope that everyone has a wonderfully long, hot, sunny, relaxing summer.

Katie Almond
Co-Chair, PHSJCC

Conference Registration Now Open

November 16 - 18, 2015


To Register, Click Here.

Police Record Checks Reform Act is Introduced in the Legislature

Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the Honourable Yasir Naqvi, introduced the Police Record Checks Reform Act (PRCRA) in the provincial legislature this week. The new legislation outlines what can be disclosed by police officers on police records and legislates procedures on requesting, conducting and disclosing police record check information.

The practice of disclosing non-conviction information including mental health information is discriminatory to individuals who have come in contact with the police. CMHA Ontario and other key stakeholders were consulted during the drafting of the PRCRA as they have been advocating for legislative change on this issue for over 5 years.

The PRCRA, which reflects the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) Law Enforcement and Records (Managers) Network (LEARN) Guideline for Police Record Checks, will:
•    Outline how police record checks are to be requested, provided and disclosed.
•    Allow anyone to obtain a police record check for themselves.
•    Require that written consent is given by the individual in order for the police to disclose the police record check information to a third party (i.e employer or volunteer organization).
•    Prohibit the disclosure of information related to Mental Health Act apprehensions.
•    State when non-conviction information can be disclosed in exceptional circumstances
•    Outline procedures for reconsideration and correction of information provided in a police record check.

Minister Naqvi introduced the Police Record Checks Reform Act at a press conference in Toronto. Many stakeholders spoke at the event, including CMHA Ontario’s CEO Camille Quenneville. Minister Naqvi stated that the proposed Police Record Checks Reform Act is in response to countless situations where Ontarians have had personal information, such as dropped criminal charges or mental health interactions, shared with a potential employer or peer.

“These changes will ensure that Ontarians are not negatively impacted by records of police contacts that do not pertain to criminal activity,” Naqvi said.

CMHA commends Minister Naqvi and the Government of Ontario for introducing the Police Record Checks Reform Act. This important legislation marks a positive step towards ensuring that mental health police records are not treated like criminal records.

“Mental health police records are helpful when the information is used internally by police to assist a person experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario. “But the disclosure of this information for other purposes can create barriers for people and increase mental health stigma.”

“These legislative changes provide a model for governments across Canada and help reduce the discrimination and stigma experienced by people living with mental illness”, said Peter Coleridge, National CEO, CMHA. “CMHA National is proud to have worked with colleagues across Canada to establish a unified position on this issue. We are now asking all governments and police forces to act on this matter in the same way the Government of Ontario has chosen to.”

CMHA Ontario, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the John Howard Society of Ontario, the Ontario Association of Patient Councils and the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario are Co-Chairs of the Police Records Check Coalition (PRCC). This is a group of more than 30 people and organizations comprising health law and human rights legal experts. For more information on police records and how they can impact individuals, visit the Coalition’s website at


Navigating Confidentiality in the Justice Sector: Exchanging Knowledge and Exploring Opportunities

“Somewhere in legislation, it should say ‘thou shalt collaborate’.” These words, expressed by Norm Taylor from the Global Network for Community Safety, aptly capture the spirit of Navigating Confidentiality in the Justice Sector. Held on May 1st in Ottawa, this event was part of “Collaborative Conversations: On the Road,” a series of seven knowledge exchange events hosted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Provincial System Support Program (PSSP). The goal of these events was to share insights from the Systems Improvement through Service Collaboratives (SISC) initiative.

Nearly 60 participants from across the province representing a wide range of stakeholder groups attended, including mental health and addiction service providers, youth and adult justice professionals, cultural service representatives, individuals with lived system experience, and policymakers, among others. This diverse group explored challenges and solutions to information sharing across justice, community, and health sectors. The event also served as a platform to build new and strengthen existing working relationships.

Representatives from the four Justice Service Collaboratives described the interventions their communities implemented as part of the SISC initiative. They also addressed the Collaboratives’ local experiences navigating the challenges of sharing client information across justice, community, and health agencies. Guest speakers provided examples of innovative approaches to information sharing, including risk-driven collaboration models and the development of a regional database for measuring and evaluating the performance of community justice programs. Presentations and readings from the event can be accessed here.

One of the most powerful messages emerging from the event is that cross-sectoral collaboration and information sharing across health, justice, and community contexts may be challenging, but it is both possible and necessary. At the end of the day, it is this collaboration that will most benefit clients, families, and communities.

“It’s very encouraging to see the theory of collaboration now having established deeper roots with more evidence and consequential community impacts,” said Mike Taylor, the Executive Director of Youth Resources Niagara and the Co-Chair of the Niagara Youth Justice Service Collaborative.

Pictured (Left to Right): Marla Banning (CAMH), Tania Breton (CAMH) and Mike Taylor (Executive Director, Youth Resources Niagara and Co-Chair, Niagara Youth Justice Service Collaborative).

A final summary of major learnings from “Collaborative Conversations: On the Road” is in development and will be made available on More information about the Navigating Confidentiality in the Justice Sector event, including key highlights and insights, will be available in this summary and will also be featured in a future HSJCC newsletter. Stay tuned!   
Submit articles and events to the Editor, at
Webinar Recording

Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (Hamilton)

This presentation will focus on the development and outcomes of a new first responder model that pairs police officers and mental health crisis workers for 911 response in Hamilton. A description of how the MCRRT evolved from a strong historical partnership between Hamilton Police Services (HPS) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton (SJHH) Crisis Outreach and Response Team (COAST), into an innovative next step beyond the traditional crisis response model, will be provided. The presentation will cover logistics on how the team was developed and lessons learned since first implementing MCRRT in November 2013. Key outcomes, such as a 50% reduction in the number of individuals brought into the emergency department, and next steps for the program will be reviewed. There will be opportunity at the end of the presentation for questions and discussion.


Jodi Younger, MSc, CPRP, is the Clinical Director of General Psychiatry & Addiction services at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton (SJHH), a leading academic, multi-site acute care hospital that provides ambulatory, acute and mental health care to individuals in south central Ontario, Canada. Jodi has both a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology and in Health Administration and is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She is also an Assistant Professor (part-time) with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University.
To view the webinar, click here.
To view the slides, click here.


Articles of Interest

Psychosis Uncommonly and Inconsistently Precedes Violence Among High-Risk Individuals
Clinical Psychological Science

Mentally ill migrants don’t belong in jail
Toronto Star

Study of the Subject Matter of Bill C-583, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, House of Commons

‘My past doesn’t define me’: How former inmates are helping others start over
Toronto Star

Mental health and contact with police in Canada
Statistics Canada


Upcoming Events

56th Annual Institute on Addiction Studies
Innisfil, July 12 - 16, 2015

International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership Conference
Accelerating Change Toward Mental Health, Well-Being & Inclusion
Vancouver, September 21 - 25, 2015 

Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee Biennial Conference
Mobilizing Community: Promoting Resiliency,Sustaining Recovery and Restoring Justice
Toronto, November 16 - 18, 2015
With Support from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division
With Support from EENet
Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Copyright © 2015 Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee, All rights reserved.

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