Advocacy and Policy Influence

Forensic Division Faculty have contributed significantly to mental health advocacy. There are also four major areas where Faculty have been involved with advocacy or sector influence of national and international impact:

Not Criminally Responsible and Bill C 54/C-14 campaign:

Concern arose in relation to a series of high profile cases of persons found NCR, resulting in a Bill from the Federal Government to amend Part XX.1 of the Criminal Code. In partnership with a series of national organizations, U of T staff contributed to or led the public debate and submission production to Parliament opposing aspects of this legislation, giving evidence before the Commons and Senate committees.

14th International Conference of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services:

Organized by the Division, the conference theme was “Trauma, Violence and Recovery: Risk and Resilience Across the Lifespan”. Dr. Simpson was the chair of the local organizing committee and Dr. S Penney was chair of the scientific committee. The meeting was also sponsored by Waypoint, Ontario Shores, St Joseph’s Health Care (in Hamilton, ON), and CAMH. There conference attracted keynote speakers from the US, Ireland and Australia, included numerous post-conference workshops, and featured a screening of the John Kastner documentary “Out of Mind Out of Sight”.

Correctional Mental Health Services:

The Division looks to address the issue of service responses to the needs of mentally ill persons in detention centres and prisons. Public concerns surrounding a high profile suicide in custody were addressed by Dr. Simpson, who has been actively involved in public debate and media response to these issues as well as with the planning of future service enhancements for mentally ill prisoners.