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Current Year Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

City of Toronto and CAMH partner to create customer-service training program

May 14, 2013 - The City of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) today officially launched a joint customer-service training initiative. The partnership is the first of its kind between the City and CAMH.

The partnership was initiated by the City Clerk's Office, which has a large number of employees who interact with the public, many on a daily basis. As the City Clerk's Office looked to improve customer service, it became apparent that front-line staff needed training in order to provide better service to individuals with diminished mental capacity or mental health issues.

City of Toronto and CAMH partnership announcement
Dr. Ivan Silver, CAMH's Vice President of Education, speaks during the launch of the joint initiative between the City of Toronto and CAMH.

"We are serious about our commitment to customer service excellence. In order to provide that we must provide access to services and to government for all Toronto residents," said Ulli Watkiss, City Clerk. "It is the mission of the City Clerk's Office to build public trust and confidence in local government for individuals of all abilities. I am very proud that we are providing this training program."

The City, unable to find a ready-made program, approached CAMH.

"It's not just a gap at the City of Toronto," said Dr. Ivan Silver, Vice President of Education, CAMH. "The need for customer service education for most public and commercial organizations is very much recognized at CAMH. We are pleased to be able to combine our expertise in public education and clinical training into a real-world customer-service application."

The training program consists of an online tutorial and a one-day in-person training session with professional CAMH instructors. Course content was customized by speaking with frontline staff who interact with the public at service counters, at committee and council meetings, and at election voting locations to ensure simulations reflected real life situations. Several other City divisions have expressed interest in similar training for their staff.

Sixteen training sessions will be held in 2013 and seven additional sessions in 2014, with more than 400 City employees to participate. This training initiative supports the City of Toronto's commitment to creating an accessible city.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in its field.  CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Media contacts:

Terry Wertepny, City Clerk's Office, 416-392-8107,
Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations, 416-595-6015,

CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
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