the Bulletin

December 2019

1. Are too many people getting ODSP? Is ODSP too high? 

Ontario - Will Ontario narrow the definition of disability for ODSP? Will it also reduce ODSP payments? Or does ODSP exist to support folks with disabilities? 

This is the time to tell the government, friends, and activists that ODSP needs to be changed so people are supported not punished. On December 4, 2019, the Auditor General released an audit of the Ontario Disability Support Program. She indicated there was a 50% increase of people on ODSP and a 75% increase in costs since 2009 (Buleletin: how much has your rent gone up since 2009?). The Auditor questions these cost increases and failure to "monitor" people applying for and receiving ODSSP. Auditor did not look at whether ODSP was sufficient to provide for the basic needs of people with disabilities.

On the other hand: The Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) cautions against relying on the Auditor General’s fundamentally flawed report on ODSP

“A proper audit of ODSP would have asked if the program is meeting its purpose of supporting the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Karin Baqi, Staff Lawyer at ISAC. “Instead of focusing on the extreme inadequacy of ODSP payments, this report targets recipients with suspicion and perpetuates the stigma that they do not really deserve to receive public support to meet their basic needs.”A wooden sign with one arrow pointing to the right with text hope. And one arrow points to the left with text despair.

Above all, the report misinterprets an increase in the number of recipients as a sign of administrative error. This ignores factors such as an aging population, an increase in precarious work, stagnating wages and considerable cuts to other social programs that now force more Ontarians to rely on ODSP.

Canada is considering a wider definition of disability for CPP-Disability, EI and other programs. Disability is defined to include episodic disabilities in the law (Accessible Canada Act). This is an area to push for better more flexible supports. Cheers and hope!
Work, learn, Madly! 
Navigate Below
  1. Intro: Employment, elections, climate
  2. Rights and News: Police, Health
  3. Resources
  4. Jobs
  5. Key Free Events
  6. Crackdown Podcast goes to Scotland
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December Event Guide! thx Amber Graydon

Surveys and feedback help us improve!

We are only publishing electronically as of July 2019. You can access more news and resources throughout the month at The Sound Times Website

2. News, Health, Rights, Advocacy


Toronto Police - Vulnerable Persons Registry

Would you register yourself with the police so that they approach you safely? What about your child or your elderly parent? 

Do the police have time to look up the information before a confrontation? How does information about a bipolar diagnosis help police? Do they even want to have medical information?

What about privacy and personal health information? Hacks and accidental disclosures are too common with health information. The police say you can remove your information. 

Family members can put your name in the registry. What do you do if you change.  


From the Police Service website:

The Toronto Police Service Vulnerable Persons Registry is a voluntary database that provides important information to first responders about the issues that vulnerable members of the community might be coping with. The information in the database includes details such as specific behaviours officers might encounter, recommended de-escalation strategies and contact information for family members or other individuals who can provide support.

If, at any time, you wish to remove the information from the Vulnerable Persons Registry please do so by notifying the Toronto Police Service via the online portal.

Q: Who can provide this information to police?
A: The information will only be accepted if it is entered by the vulnerable person named in the record, their parent or guardian or a person with power of attorney or similar authority over the individual. A verification process will follow the data entry to ensure that the person entering the data had the authority to do so.
Q: How will this information be used by police?
A: This information will only be used by officers to obtain background information about people they are dealing with unless the person is reported missing. In those cases the missing person’s photograph (if provided), name and description may be shared with the media, TTC, Toronto Community Housing or Hospitals.



No human rights for people with "that other" disability??? We all have human rights or no one does!

An international perspective: 
Crackdown podcast: Passing the Marker - Vancouver to Scotland

* Housing *

Have you heard anything about the Right to Housing in Canadian Law

We still need to advocate and reach politicians to make sure they know that we have a Right to Housing (R2H). Get on the email/phone/post office! Interesting Background Document on the R2H



3. Resources

Holidays can be hard. You can call and text for help or to hear a warm voice!
  1. Distress Centres of Greater Toronto 416-408-HELP (4357)  Text #45645  
  2. ONTX - Ontario Online and Text Crisis Service Text #258258 
  3. Text / Chat with Warm Line, Progress Place -
    1. Text: 647-557-5882 or
    2. Call: 416-960-WARM (9276), 

TTC Tokens --> Presto Tickets

  • tokens are no longer available. You can still use any tokens you still have.
  • Get a Presto card for get cheaper rides. Or you can purchase individual Presto tickets at subway stations or Shoppers Drugmart
    A Sample Presto Ticket. 1-Rife. For use on TTC. Expires on a specific day.
  • Look for the new Presto App, get low balance warnings, view history and the Google Play and App Store 
  • And New TTC Presto App

TTC - Fair Pass Discount Program

Find the forms and the details at: 
And more info at


4. Jobs & Funding

Listings Below: Fresh Start, Empowerment Council, Gerstein Centre

Want to work in the Mad service sector: Charity Village has lots of job listings - search "mental health", "substance use"

Employment Works

Employment Works! is a CAMH Human Resources recruitment and retention initiative dedicated to recruiting people with lived experience of mental illness, including addictions, into vacant CAMH positions. 
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Fresh Start, Empowerment Council, Gerstein Centre

JOB: Fresh Start Snow  

Fresh Start is currently accepting applications from  Consumer/ Survivors for Extreme Cleaning Services.  Apply to Karen Schwartz at 416-504-4262, #227 or

Fresh Start is seeking snow removal staff for the 2019/2020 winter season.  Candidates will be shovelling snow, salting, and chipping ice as necessary.
Qualified candidates will be someone who is personally dealing with a mental health issue, is easily reachable by phone and who will be available for on-call work anytime as the job is weather dependent (we don’t call in the middle of the night, however, there are a lot of 7 am callouts + any other time during the day/evening).
Applicants must also have a piece of government I.D. with their social insurance number on it, plus one piece of government I.D. other than a health card to show me if hired.
Karen Schwartz Human Resources Coordinator
 Fresh Start Cleaning and Maintenance
3345 Dundas Street West. Toronto, ON  M6P 2A6
T:  416-504-4262  ext. 227 F:  416-504-3429

RESEARCH & REPORT WRITER (contract) Empowerment Council.

(Service Users, Identity Politics and Employment Equity)
Project Term: January– March 2020 14 hours/week $30/hr.

Application Deadline: DECEMBER 20th 2019 5:00PM Empowerment Council logo

To apply, please send letter of interest, cv/resume and two samples of writing to: by December 20th at 5:00PM
Interviews will be weighted on experience, qualifications and approach to report writing/process
First Nations, visible minorities, consumer/survivors and other marginalized and historically dis-advantaged populations are strongly encouraged to apply.

Gerstein Crisis Centre is seeking Volunteers to join our Board of Directors

The Gerstein Crisis Centre provides crisis intervention to adults 16+ living in the City of Toronto, who experience mental health problems. The Centre provides telephone, Gerstein Crisis Centre Logoface to face and on site support for individuals in crisis including those experiencing issues related to substance use.  Our service is community based and non-medical.  In 2007, Gerstein Centre opened a second site in the west end of the Toronto.  The second site provides short term crisis support for persons with mental health problems who are also involved with the criminal justice system.
The Gerstein Centre is looking for volunteers for our Board of Directors, able to commit 3-5 hours per month for a minimum of one one-year term. The Board meets once a month. Currently, there are committees in the following areas:  Human Resources, Fundraising, Governance/Nominations and Finance.  
Gerstein Centre is committed to equity principles and hopes to broaden the diversity of the Board. We are particularly interested in hearing from individuals who represent the cultural diversity of Toronto and from those with personal experience of the mental health system.
If you are interested in this opportunity or would like more information, please contact Susan Davis (Executive Director) by phone at 416-929-0149 x222 or by e-mail at by December 31 2019. 
You can also find more information on our website at

5. Fun Free Events in October

General Tips on finding events:

The Big List of fun community events - compiled by Amber Graydon

  • over 40 pages of community events
  • daily, weekly. Free. Fun.


Housing and Justice Actions, events, consultations - compiled by Melissa Goldstein

  • housing action network, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness, City of Toronto and more...

Keep up with Holiday dropin meals Toronto Dropin Network -

Big Holiday Meal at Haven

Dec. 19th starting at 4:30 p.m. here at 170 Jarvis St.  A corporate sponsor is paying for hot meals, winter ready kits and winter coats to people in the community. 

6. Crackdown podcast: Passing the Marker - Vancouver to Scotland

In 2018, Scotland had a higher rate of drug-related deaths than Canada or the U.S. — even though fentanyl hasn’t taken over the U.K.’s drug supply... Can they learn from Canada? Can we learn from them? 

The Bulletin

Resources for Consumer / Survivors / People who use substances / Service and Substance Users / Fun Folks in TORONTO AREA
#19 - 617 December 2019
An oak tree comes from a single nut that stood its ground.” –Author Unknown Organizing Guide for Psychiatric Survivors MindFreedom International
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The Bulletin is published monthly by Sound Times Support Services. Funding for this Consumer/Survivor initiative has been Toronto  Central Local Health Integration Network logoprovided by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
Disclaimer: The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Toronto Central LHIN, the Government of Ontario, Sound Times Support Services Staff or Board Members.
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