Revoking charter 'beyond comprehension': CMHA Nipissing
CMHA Nipissing Regional Branch (Eric Taschner/CTV Northern Ontario)
Margi Woods Clarke, executive director of Canadian Mental Health Association Nipissing Regoinal Branch, issued this statement Tueday, July 9:
The Canadian Mental Health Association Nipissing Regional Branch was notified by email on Friday, July 5 by the CMHA Ontario Division Board of Directors of their decision to revoke the Branch Charter. As the reason for this decision, CMHA – Ontario advised that “for more than three years,
CMHA Ontario has, in good faith, engaged in a collaborative approach with the branch to encourage integration with local partners but to no avail.”
For 42 years CMHA Nipissing has worked collaboratively with multiple cross-sector partners to find creative solutions to service delivery issues. CMHA Nipissing has been committed to, and discussed integration for more than the last three years by providing services such as back- office support, office space to a number of partners as well as other similar types of supportive services.
Notwithstanding the past collaboration of CMHA Nipissing, CMHA Nipissing was recently placed under undue pressure to commit to an integration process before completing its due diligence investigation. Specifically, CMHA Nipissing sought to clarify its legal obligations in order to be able to successfully advance the integration process. Prior to ensuring all its statutory and contractual obligations would be met by integration, CMHA Ontario revoked the charter of CMHA Nipissing.
“To say that I am sad is an understatement,” said Margi Woods Clarke, Executive Director.
“To revoke the charter of a CMHA Branch with this legacy while conducting its due diligence, not for a legal, financial or service issue is beyond comprehension. I am grateful for the support of our partners who have reached out and the commitment of our incredible staff and Board of Directors as we navigate this process. l would like to take this time to reassure all those receiving services that we will do our best to minimize and ideally eliminate any service disruption.”
CMHA Nipissing has a proud history providing specialized services in the Northeast Region with a very dedicated staff and volunteer Board of Directors. The Branch is very proud of the many years of commitment that it has given to programs such as the North Bay Interlink Choir, Talk Today, Living Life to the Full and Bounce Back. The Branch was one of 6 branches chosen nationally to pilot the Living Life to the Full program with the Veteran Family Program, was one of three pilot sites in Ontario for the Talking About Mental Illness Program at its inception, and very proudly supported the Talk Today partnership with the OHL/NOJHL.
CMHA Nipissing has multiple cross-sectoral partnerships and an extensive history of collaborative and innovative conduct aimed at providing mental health and addictions services to those in need in our community. Since 1977, CMHA Nipissing has been committed to supporting all those affected by mental illness and addiction and promoting mental health. CMHA Nipissing provides multi-disciplinary services in mental health and justice, case management, referral and system navigation, financial literacy and trusteeship, supportive housing, social rehabilitation and recreation, developmental disabilities services, mental health promotion, education and training.
CMHA Nipissing has multiple formal agreements with local services agencies and will continue to offer the best service possible and will continue to be responsive to our community. We will honour our commitments as we determine our future and will also honour the requests of our multiple donors and their belief in the branch.
CMHA Nipissing has proudly served this community for 42 years. We believe it is the people who work and volunteer in our organization and their commitment to support the recovery of those struggling with mental illness and addictions that define us. We believe that the people who work and volunteer in our organization will continue to do so because of their commitment to this community and to those most vulnerable.
It can continue operating, but the termination of the agreement means the organization is not allowed to use the CMHA name, logo or brand beyond January 5, 2020.
In a statement to CTV News, Board of Directors Chairman of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division Tom Walters says:
“For more than three years, CMHA Ontario has, in good faith, engaged in a collaborative approach with the branch to encourage integration with local partners, but to no avail.”
This news is following the province’s announcement of $465,000 in funding for mental health and addiction service providers in Nipissing. Over $13,000 was given to the local CMHA branch.
“The board for CMHA Ontario has taken this next step to align with changes occurring in the community mental health and addictions sector. The province has made clear its desire to see integration amongst agencies and ultimately far fewer community-based mental health and addictions providers.” said Walters.
His statement also says:
“The Ontario Health Team model implemented by the province and the June report from the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine, which led with three recommendations on integration, is evidence of government’s movement towards fewer service providers.”
Walters also says the CMHA Ontario will not be making further public comment on this issue at this time.
There are 30 CMHA branches throughout Ontario which serve 500,000 people each year.
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario says the revocation of Nipissing's charter will not result in any job losses and that no other branches are being affected.
Margi Clarke, the executive director for CMHA Nipissing Regional Branch says that all services will be "available as usual," despite this announcement made by the provincial organization.