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July 8, 2013 Steve Lurie's letter to The Globe and Mail July 5, 2013, in response to the article, "An aging B.C. deserves more federal health-care funds, Finance Minister says"

bc-dejong05nw1Other provinces should be joining BC in asking the federal government to increase health care transfers. According to the PBO (Parliamentary Budget Office) analysis, federal health care transfers in provincial health budgets will decline from 18.9% to 11.9% as a result of the change. Provinces will be hard pressed to make new investments in health care. Areas like mental health that received very little investment under the current health care accord will be disadvantaged further.

To read the Globe and Mail article Click Here

June 7, 2013 Steve Lurie's letter to The Globe and Mail, June 5 2013, in response to the article, "The Conservative Government is protecting safety, not promoting stigma against the mentally ill"


It would have been helpful if the Globe had reviewed Winko v BC ( 1999), the Supreme Court decision that established our current framework for dealing with people who are found NCR, as well as the fact sheet put out by the Mental Health Commission before publishing your recent editorial. The Supreme Court decision establishes public safety and significant physical harm as the threshold for deciding on custody orders and conditional discharges. The Mental Health Commission fact sheet points out that only 7-10% of NCR patients commit a violent reoffence.

The current regime for NCR establishes a reasonable balance in terms of protecting public safety and ensuring treatment, and if the current legislation passes it will likely end up being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Time and resources would be better spent ensuring that we focus on improving access to mental health care for all Canadians, as currently only 1 in 3 people in need are able to get the care and support they require.

To read the article Click Here

June 7, 2013 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, June 5 2013, in response to the article, "Wait Times - Money's Not The Answer"


Regrettably the funding allocated to reduce wait times in health care did not include funding to reduce wait times for psychiatric care and community supports. For example, in Ontario the government invested $16 billion in health care between 2004 and 2011, but only $200 million was directed towards mental health. Only 31% of child and youth mental health agencies are able to meet the Canadian Psychiatric Association benchmark for wait times according to a recent study. In Toronto there are 5800 people waiting for access to supportive housing and a recent study for the Mental Health Commission estimates that there are 520,000 people living with mental illness in Canada who are homeless or vulnerably housed waiting for access to housing and support services.

Mental health service capacity needs to be increased across the country as only 1 in 3 people in need are able to access care. This will cost money which is why Senators Kirby and Keon recommended the establishment of a mental health transition fund in 2006, and the Mental Health Commission recommended increasing the mental health share of health and social spending in their strategy released last year. We’re still waiting for governments to improve access to mental health services.

To read the article Click Here


May 28, 2013 Blended financing for impact: The opportunity for social finance in supportive housing

It all started with a wicked problem and an ambitious goal.

In late 2011, the Mental Health Commission of Canada commissioned “Turning the Key,” a report designed to inform Canadians about the current housing and community support needs of people living with mental health challenges in Canada. The report’s findings were clear: There are too many Canadians with mental health issues who cannot find homes. Hundreds of thousands of our neighbours are inadequately housed, and 119,000 of our fellow citizens who face mental health challenges are homeless.

May 28, 2013 Workplace Mental Health Standard

On January 16th Canada took an important step for mental health as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec (BNQ) released the country’s first-ever national workplace Standard, The National Standard of Canada – Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, promotion and guidance to staged implementation. CMHA applauds the release of the Standard, which defines and sets a higher standard for workplace mental health.

May 14, 2013 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, Friday May 10, 2013, in response to the article, "Here’s an autism statistic: family"

web-autismJane Wood’s compelling article on the lack of supports for families and children with autism is part of a bigger problem – our failure to provide adequate community care systems for the 6.7 million Canadians who live with mental illness every day. It is now seven years since Senators Kirby and Keon released their report on mental illness, Out of the Shadows at Last. While there has been increased public discussion and policy rhetoric by governments across the country, there has been very little investment in services. Most of the health care accord funding has gone to other areas of health care, even though the Senate proposal for a mental health transition fund would have added less than .029% to health care spending across the country, to improve access to community care and supportive housing. It is time to fix the deficit in community mental health care and lessen the burden on families.

To read the Globe and Mail article Click Here

April 1, 2013 Steve Lurie's letter to the Toronto Star March 28, 2013, in response to the article, "For Richard Kachkar’s victims, it’s cold comfort from the courts: DiManno"

vt_sgt_ryan_russell_verdict0001_jpg_size_xxlarge_promoThe verdict in Richard Kachkar’s case is a reasonable finding that is consistent with the standard set by our Supreme Court in Winko vs. BC (1999). Mr. Kachkar will be under the supervision of the Ontario Review board. He will remain in custody or community supervision as long as the Review Board finds that there is risk of substantial harm to the public based on his mental disorder. Recidivism rates are very low for people found NCR and he may be under supervision for longer than if he had been found guilty. The insanity defense has been part of our legal system since the 1840s. It would be best if we could focus the debate on ensuring that people have better access to services when they first experience mental health problems. Currently only one in 3 people do.

To read the Toronto Star article Click Here

March 25, 2013 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail March 19, 2013, in response to the article, "Justice Schneider's Accidental Case For Public Safety"

ed-insanity-law-0318While the Globe is correct in asserting that review boards are not omnipotent, the Supreme Court ruled in Winko vs. BC that there is an onus on the crown or review board to show serious risk of substantial harm, or grant an absolute discharge. Review boards must rely on expert medical testimony to assess this. While the government does not need to heed Justice Schneider’s reasoned opinion, they may find their legislation challenged at the Supreme Court on the basis of the Winko decision.

To read the Globe and Mail article Click Here

March 19, 2013 Holiday Gift Program 2012 - Campaign Update

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March 19, 2013 Mental illness: Suicide, schizophrenia and one family’s losing battle to save their son | Toronto Star March 19, 2013

kit_skelly_jpg_size_medium2_promoDiagnosed with schizophrenia, Kit Skelly lived nearly five torturous years trapped in a broken mental-health system. Despite his family’s efforts to save him, the 23-year-old jumped off the Leaside Bridge.

To read the Toronto Star article in full Click Here