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

October 2015

Message from the Co-Chair

Since the inception of the Provincial HSJCC, we have been faced with many issues presented to us by Local and Regional HSJCCs—some geographically specific, others provincial in scope—but were only able to address one or two issues at a time and lead one or two projects a year. Our partnership with Canadian Mental Health (CMHA) Ontario provided “in-kind” staff support, ostensibly part-time, but the work was frankly over-taxing those individuals, whose roles were constrained by our limited resources. As a result, the Steering Committee of the Provincial HJSCC decided to apply for funds to increase our capacity.  We worked very hard on the proposal and its many iterations, and are thrilled to report that on July 24, 2015, our request for increased funding was approved.  We are happy to announce that starting this Fall there will be three new full-time staffing positions dedicated to the Provincial HSJCC.  The Provincial HSJCC will continue its partnership with CMHA Ontario; staff will work out of their office, as members of their Policy Department.

Our work will align with the government’s Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.  The first priority will be to initiate an interministerial system change project focused on reducing wait times for police accompanied visits to hospital emergency departments. With our new funding, we can maintain the infrastructure of our current work, and initiate new projects in the fields of human services and justice.

The new funds will allow us to:
  • Implement system change initiatives at the juncture points between the human services and justice systems
  • Participate in inter-ministerial committees
  • Advise government policy and procedures relating to human services and justice
  • Engage in research/develop resources that have utility across the province
  • Create a sustainable body of research and practice
  • Enhance service delivery to our clients across the province
The funding has enabled us to hire three new staff; we would like to welcome Jenna Hitchcox, Project Manager; Kashfia Alam, Implementation and Training Officer; and Joseph Szamuhel, Administrative Officer to the PHSJCC team.  Seble Makonnen, Policy Analyst and Justice Lead at CMHA Ontario will also play a supporting role to the PHSJCC.

In addition, we will receive in-kind assistance from the Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), with support for knowledge exchange as well as research and evaluation. ConnexOntario will also continue to provide support for us with regard to our membership database.  We want to thank CMHA Ontario, PSSP-CAMH and ConnexOntario for their ongoing support of the HSJCC Network.

None of this could have happened without the determination and tireless efforts of the members of the Provincial HSJCC, our Steering Committee and our partners from the Ministries of Health & Long-Term Care, Attorney General, Children & Youth Services, Community & Social Services, Community Safety & Correctional Services as well as Correctional Services Canada. Their dedication and hard work was particularly significant when we had limited resources and time.

While on the subject of great news, we are excited to report that our upcoming conference, Mobilizing Community: Promoting Resiliency, Sustaining Recovery and Restoring Justice, has already received more than 300 registrants. We would like to thank former Conference Co-Chair Lin Sallay, who has moved on to work in the educational sector, and Conference Committee member Jonathan King, who has retired. Gord Boyd, the Champlain Regional representative has kindly volunteered to replace Lin, and assist Alice Bellevance with chairing the Conference Committee.

The Steering Committee decided to set aside $10,000 to cover conference and related costs for people with lived experience. To that end, we put out a call for applicants, on a first-come, first-served basis. Seven applicants will receive a conference subsidy and participate in the November event.

We are very excited about the future of the HSJCC--- locally, regionally, and provincially. Together we can make significant contributions to improving our human services and justice sectors, and more importantly, to the clients we serve.

Katie Almond
Co-Chair, PHSJCC

Conference Registration Now Open

November 16 - 18, 2015


To Register, Click Here.


A New Guide to Court Ordered Assessments for Youth

A team of staff from the Ministries of the Attorney General, Children and Youth Services, and Health and Long-Term Care have collaborated to develop guides for three types of assessments that courts may order for children and youth: Youth Criminal Justice Act, Section 34 assessments and Criminal Code of Canada mandated fitness assessments and 'not criminally responsible' assessments. The author of the guides is an experienced and expert Crown Attorney, Brock Jones. The guides have been reviewed by experienced Judges to ensure that they are accurate and comprehensive.

The guide is posted in the Resource Section of the HSJCC website.

Please circulate the guide freely to stakeholders involved in the youth justice system and the courts.



Moving Forward:
Improving Access to Holistic Housing for People with Mental Illness and/or Addictions Leaving the Criminal Justice System


There is a strong link between homelessness, incarceration and mental illness and/or addictions. Access to safe, affordable housing is imperative for good mental health and preventing incarceration/re-incarceration. Unfortunately, people with mental illness and/or addictions leaving the criminal justice system in Toronto have difficulty securing the housing and related supports that they need to live successfully in the community. The Toronto Justice Collaborative (TJC) identified lack of access to appropriate housing and supports for this vulnerable population as a major service gap in the community. In response, we developed a comprehensive process for identifying the needs of people leaving the criminal justice system in partnership with the John Howard Society of Toronto’s Reintegration Centre. This is an important first step, but more must be done to address this growing problem.

In this position paper we provide an overview of the importance of housing and supports for people with mental illness and/or addictions leaving the criminal justice system and highlight the efforts of the TJC as we begin to bridge the service gap. We also make recommendations to the Government of Ontario on how they can continue to support the work of the TJC and help end the housing crisis.

Our recommendations focus on:
  • Preventing housing loss and improving housing access;
  • Dedicating existing housing units and investing in new housing options for people with mental illness and/or addictions who are involved with, or have a history of involvement with the criminal justice system;
  • Ensuring women-specific housing options exist; and
  • Using data from the TJC needs identification tool to tailor housing and support services to further marginalized populations.

Read more on the HSJCC website.

Proposed Amendments to the Mental Health Act for Long-Term Patients

"September 23, 2015

Today, Ontario is introducing amendments to the Mental Health Act in response to an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that struck down the Mental Health Act provision that allows a person to be involuntarily detained for more than six months.

The Court struck out the provision because the legislation in its current form does not provide sufficient procedural protections to ensure that long-term patients are detained in a manner that reflects their Charter rights.

The Court of Appeal suspended its decision for one year, until December 23, 2015. The proposed changes to the Mental Health Act would need to be in effect by December 22, 2015.

The proposed amendments to address the Court’s decision would give the Consent and Capacity Board new powers to make orders concerning the manner in which these involuntary patients who have been in hospital for longer than six months are detained."

Read the full news release at

Submit articles and events to the Editor, at

Articles of Interest

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Violent Crime: A Cohort Study
PLOS Medicine

Building a Service Resolution Function in Toronto: Recommendations for Meeting the Needs of People with Complex Mental Health, Addictions, and Other Challenges
Complex Care Sub-Committee, Toronto Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee

Continuing Care and Trauma in Women Offenders’ Substance Use, Psychiatric Status, and Self-Efficacy Outcomes
Women & Criminal Justice

Unpublished Justice Department study critical of not criminally responsible law
CBC News

Personality disorders and violence: what is the link?
Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation

Upcoming Events

Third National Conference on Ending Homelessness
Montreal QC, November 2 - 4, 2015

Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival
Toronto, November 6 - 14, 2015

2015 Acquired Brain Injury Provincial Conference
Niagara Falls, November 11 - 13, 2015

Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee Biennial Conference
Mobilizing Community: Promoting Resiliency,Sustaining Recovery and Restoring Justice
Toronto, November 16 - 18, 2015

Radical Collaborations Forensic Psychiatry Conference
Hamilton, December 4, 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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