Canadian Psychiatric Association 2015 Report To Members

Canadian Psychiatric Association 2015 Report To Members

by ahnationtalk on February 9, 2016315 Views

A Unified Voice


With a Liberal majority government in place for the next four years, there is a renewed sense of optimism about the federal role in health and mental-health care. Given the Prime Minister’s commitment to negotiate a First Ministers’ Health Accord, and the specific mental health commitments contained in the mandate letters issued to ministers (see table on page 10), there is an opportunity for CPA to advocate for significant advances in mental health care.

The commitments outlined are substantial and demonstrate that mental health is a priority in the eyes of the new government. Letters from Dr. Sonu Gaind have been sent to each minister, requesting a meeting to discuss how psychiatry can work with the government to improve the mental health of Canadians.


In an inter-connected world, a single voice can only accomplish so much. The CPA understands the power of working in partnership with those who share common ground with psychiatry. Some opportunities are about strengthening the house of psychiatry along with the subspecialty academies and provincial psychiatric associations. Others are about developing and nurturing external partnerships with organizations that share the same strategic destination.

Aligning Strategic Interests with the Academies

The Academies represent a growing proportion of subspecialist members within the profession. Currently, the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry and the Canadian Academy of Psychiatry and the Law each have a seat on the CPA Board. Over the past year, the CPA has strengthened its relationship with the academies by looking for opportunities for a shared voice on public policy issues and by better communicating the benefits of membership to each other’s members. The academies and the CPA intend to hold a joint strategic planning session focused on providing greater value to our members.

Provincial Psychiatric Associations

While the CPA is a leader at the national level, much of the action related to the role of psychiatry and the future of  mental health plays out at the provincial and regional levels. The CPA President attends the annual general meetings of the provincial psychiatric associations and discussions are underway about how the CPA might support the work of the provinces. Currently, the CPA’s Economics Committee is in the early stages of developing a national economic database to support provincial tariff discussions and the CPA’s Governance Working Group is recommending the creation of a forum for the provincial psychiatric associations.

International Psychiatric Organizations

Meetings with our counterparts from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia and New Zealand, illustrate that the profession is facing similar policy issues and challenges. With this in mind, efforts are being taken to strengthen our international relationships through our respective elected representatives and CEOs. At this year’s American Psychiatric Association (APA) meeting in Toronto, Dr. Padraic Carr created a precedent by addressing their Assembly and welcoming delegates at the opening session. With the leadership of Dr. Carr, the CPA and APA issued a joint statement on Cross-Border Sharing of Mental Health Information at the CPA’s Annual Conference.

The Federal Government’s Mental Health Agenda A Generational Opportunity for Change

In November 2015, each minister received a mandate letter in which the Prime Minister set out their respective priorities. The following are the excerpts relevant to mental health:

Minister of Health

“Engage provinces and territories in the development of a new multi-year Health Accord. It should…make high quality mental health services more available to Canadians who need them.”

“Support the Ministers of Justice and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on efforts that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“Lead a process, supported by the Minister of Health, to work with the provinces and territories to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding physician-assisted death.”

“You should conduct a review of the changes in our criminal justice system and sentencing reforms…implementation of recommendations from the inquest into the death of Ashley Smith regarding the restriction of use of the solitary confinement and the treatment of those with mental

“Work with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to address gaps in services to Aboriginal people and those with mental illness throughout the criminal justice system.”

“Working with Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”

“Implement our platform commitments to toughen criminal laws and bail conditions in case of domestic assault, in consultation with stakeholders and the goal of keeping survivors and children safe.”

Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
“…make real progress on the issues most important to First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit communities – like housing, employment, health and mental health care, community and safety and policing, child welfare, and education.”

“Work in collaboration with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and in consultation with First Nations, Inuit, and other stakeholders, to improve essential physical infrastructure for Indigenous communities including improving housing outcomes for Indigenous Peoples.”

“Work with the Minister of Status of Women to support the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in ensuring that no one fleeing domestic violence is left without a place to turn by growing and maintaining Canada’s network of shelters and transition houses.”

Minister of National Defence

“Work with senior leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces to establish and maintain a workplace free from harassment and discrimination.”

“Work with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence to develop a suicide prevention strategy for Canadian Armed Forces personnel and veterans.”

Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“…and fully implement all of the Auditor-General’s recommendations on enhancing mental health service delivery to veterans.”

“Create two new centres of excellence in veterans’ care, including one with a specialization in mental health, postštraumatic stress disorder and related issues for both veterans and first responders.”

“Provide greater education, counselling, and training for families who are providing care and support to veterans living with physical and/or mental health issues as a result of their service.”

“Work with the Minister of National Defence to develop a suicide prevention strategy for Canadians Armed Forces personnel and veterans.”

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“Provide communities the money they need for Housing First initiatives that help homeless Canadians find stable housing.”

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Work with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development to create a housing strategy to rešestablish the federal government’s role in supporting affordable housing.”

Minister of Science

“Examine options to strengthen the recognition of, and support for, fundamental research to support new discoveries.”

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