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Diversity: Policy Framework Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Diversity: The Context

Background

In the Fall of 2000, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) formally approved a detailed diversity roadmap for organizational change. Diversity is now an organizational priority. Implementation of CAMH's diversity plan is a long, challenging journey that requires ongoing organizational commitment, resources and strong leadership. An understanding of the context and rationale for diversity work at CAMH helps to explain the journey of change that has been embarked on. These include:

  • Merger in 1998: The merger of the four organizations (Addiction Research Foundation, Clarke Institute, Donwood Institute and Queen Street Mental Health) to CAMH required a large scale organizational change process and the need to address the different organizational cultures in the four sites. CAMH is committed to have an ongoing organizational change process since the merger and has taken the initiative to integrate diversity into the organization's Strategic Directions.
  • Findings from the KPMG Diversity Report (2000): In 2000, CAMH 's Diversity Task Force worked closely with KPMG, a consulting firm to do an organizational review to assess diversity within CAMH. The findings demonstrated that there were some good diversity practices in different parts of the organizations. However, it also identified issues of systemic discrimination, particularly around issues of race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation and ability. An organizational change plan was approved. The plan provides a map of how CAMH can build upon the good diversity practices and address the systemic issues. This is the first step on CAMH's diversity journey.
  • Changing demographics of Canada and Toronto: There are significant changes in the social and demographic trends of Canada and especially Toronto in the past 10 years (socially, economically and politically). These demographic changes have significant impact on whom we serve and how we should deliver our services. It is an opportunity for CAMH to develop more innovative, community-based programming that is accessible, equitable and culturally appropriate.
  • Systemic Barriers in Accessing Services: Studies confirm that members of marginalized communities experience significant barriers to accessing mental health and addiction services and in receiving treatment that is culturally sensitive and competent.
  • Legal, professional, social, moral and ethical obligations: Being a public funded hospital, CAMH has legal, professional, social, moral and ethical obligations in providing accessible and equitable services.
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