For more information about the Drug Treatment Funding Program Ontario Systems Projects, visit

DTFP Ontario Systems Projects
Quarterly Newsletter

  Fall/Winter 2012

Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) is pleased to present this quarterly update of the Ontario Systems Projects.
For more information, please visit


“As you listen today, stop and think about how much work has been done in a year,” Dr. Brian Rush (pictured left) told a packed conference room earlier in the fall. “I've just been blown away by the level of cooperation across the system.”

He was addressing stakeholders of the Ontario Service Level and Systems Projects, funded by the Drug Treatment Funding Program (DTFP). Researchers, service providers, policymakers, and others had gathered for an all-day knowledge exchange event, kicked off by Sheree Davis, Director of the Community and Population Branch of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Ms. Davis emphasized the importance of focusing on children and youth before giving the floor to a series of engaging presenters. On the agenda: the progress the DTFP projects have made to date.

Developed in 2008 by Health Canada, the DTFP is a federal contribution program designed to support provinces and territories in their efforts to strengthen evidence-informed substance abuse treatment systems and address critical gaps in substance abuse treatment services, particularly for at-risk youth. Eleven Ontario Systems Projects and seven Service Level Projects have taken root in Ontario.

“We've built a lot of collaboration capital,” Dr. Rush told attendees. “DTFP has also put Ontario in a national context.” The lead on four of the Ontario Systems Projects, he has focused on improving assessment and performance monitoring in Ontario’s addiction treatment system. The title of his presentation said it all: “Planting the Seeds for System Change.”

David Kelly and Janis Cramp (pictured right), from the newly amalgamated Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, took the stage and extended the theme. (Kelly is lead on the Supportive Housing Evaluation Project; Cramp, the lead on the Peer Support Services Project and the Residential Support Services Project.) An animated speaker, Kelly stressed the importance of making sure the seeds that have been planted continue to grow.

“No change happens without collaboration across the sector, a good change management plan, and knowledge development and exchange,” he added.

Janis Cramp seconded the importance of knowledge exchange (also known as “KE”) when she drew attention to Evidence Exchange Network (EENet). One of the eleven Ontario Systems Projects, EENet is a KE network that aims to make the province’s addiction and mental health system more evidence-informed. EENet is supporting the KE needs of the other ten projects.

“They've done an amazing job creating comprehensive but succinct information,” said Cramp.

Sessions followed on the Ontario Service Level Projects, with a look at youth-focused initiatives like Rebound Choices and Project S.T.E.P. Rebound Choices supports young people between the ages of 12 and 17 and focuses on substance abuse prevention and helping young people develop constructive social skills. Project S.T.E.P., on the other hand, helps youth make informed decisions and get early counseling and is provided in all of Ottawa's high schools and several community agencies. 

In the afternoon, Nancy Bradley, from the Jean Tweed Centre, and the lead on the Trauma and Substance Use Project, addressed what it means for practices to be trauma-informed. Dr. Rush gave attendees a closer look at his specific projects. And Heather Bullock, EENet’s leader, applauded the sheer amount of productive energy generated by the DTFP.

“It’s amazing how much activity has happened and how quickly the system mobilized,” noted Bullock.

Sessions on just how to evaluate all this activity rounded out the day, with Sanjeev Sridharan (pictured left) stressing the challenges involved in bringing about system change. That said, Sridharan, Director of the Evaluation Centre for Complex Health Interventions, was able to point to some promising outcomes and early learnings. He also emphasized the value of EENet as a mechanism for getting the word out about the Ontario Systems Projects.

“Planning for uptake has to happen now,” he said.

The day-long knowledge-sharing event was part of a larger two-day conference, hosted by the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs, the Ontario Association of Patient Councils, and the Ontario Peer Development Initiative. You can find the slides for each presentation, as well as the agenda and presenter bios, here


 New mandatory data fields and dictionary

Led by Claudio Rocca, the DATIS Project has been reviewing literature and practices from across Canada—and around the world—to create a robust review of common data fields. DATIS is also developing a Data Dictionary—an innovative tool that will codify and explain each data element, creating consistency among all who use and access the elements within Catalyst. Read more...

GAINing ground in Ontario

Since June, the Screening, Assessment, and Recovery Monitoring (SARM) protocol has been piloted in four agencies across the province. (A fifth site started recruiting clients in fall 2012.) As of the beginning of December, 232 clients have joined the study!Read more…

 Coming soon: Guidelines for trauma-informed practices

To give service providers the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to work more effectively with women who have experienced (or may have experienced) trauma, guidelines for trauma-informed practices are in the final stage of development and will be disseminated in March 2013. The Trauma and Substance Use: Developing Guidelines for Informed Practices project is led by Nancy Bradley at the Jean Tweed Centre and guided by the knowledge and expertise of the advisory committee and the consultant team. Read more...

 Peer Support Services looking for networking opportunities

The Peer Support Services: Best Practices project team is preparing to consult with stakeholders from across the province in the New Year. It is also actively exploring potential synergies with the EENet Peer Support Community of Interest (CoI), led by Allan Strong at the Self-Help AllianceRead more...

 Drafting residential treatment standards

The Residential Support Services Evaluation project is drafting residential treatment standards for Ontario.  The standards are based on the provincial standards for adult residential substance use services developed by the British Columbia Ministry of Health and will integrate feedback obtained through consultation with a broad spectrum of addictions system stakeholders earlier this yearRead more...

 Taking care of KE

EENet continues to develop products and tools that make evidence about mental health and addictions in Ontario more accessible. The network has also been helping agencies determine how they use evidence. EENote, the network's new blog, has offered perspectives - some quite moving - from its stakeholders. EENet is now supporting Communities of Interest and continues to host webinars about the DTFP projects.

 The (preliminary) results are in

It is anticipated that some revisions to the Ontario Perception of Care – Mental Health and Addictions tool will be required—for example, wording changes to make the tool more accessible to youth. Preliminary results, however, are very positive, and there is already substantial interest in the tool from the field. Read more...

Costing Project taking on costly issues

The Costing Project team identified a wide range of issues that might impact the outcome of the project. In consultation with eight addiction centre pilot sites, the project team developed guidelines for testing how best to address these issues. Since the spring, the eight sites have been providing data and feedback... Read more…

 YSSR team grateful for feedback

The Youth Services System Review (YSSR) team met with more than 120 youth from across Ontario and heard from many others, electronically through the YSSR website or in person at one of several conferences that the team attended.  At this time, the project team is immersed in data analysis—you had lots to say! Read more…

 ASH Evaluation project consults widely with clients across province

In November, the Addiction and Supportive Housing (ASH) Evaluation team completed a ‘snapshot’ of ASH programs in Ontario, and found that there is considerable variation in ASH programs across the provinceNine client focus groups were conducted between July and October 2012, to understand how involvement with ASH programs is helping people to achieve their goals, whether clients feel that some approaches are more helpful than others, and what changes they would like to see in the way these services are offered. Read more...

Evidence Exchange Network (EENet; formerly OMHAKEN) actively promotes the use of research evidence in decision-making by providing an infrastructure to connect research and researchers to mental health and addictions research stakeholders across Ontario; develops targeted KT products and tools; and supports interactive exchanges. The EENet Management and Resource Centre is located in the Provincial System Support Program at CAMH.

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Production of this newsletter has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada.