Waterloo-Wellington Committee > Default
 

 Welcome to Waterloo-Wellington Committee

 
​What is the HSJCC?
 
The Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee of Waterloo-Wellington is a regional committee with three local committees who seek to coordinate resources and services for people who 17.jpgare in conflict with the law, and who struggle with a serious mental illness, developmental disability, acquired brain injury, drug and alcohol addiction, and/or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. (now referred to as alcohol-related neuro-developmental disorder (ARND)
 
Who We Are
As we sit around the table, our mandates often are miles apart and even conflict on occasion! Yet we are drawn together by a common desire to meet needs of individuals with serious mental health challenges who are in conflict with the law. Perhaps the best way to illustrate our diversity and our common commitment is to list all the agencies who participate in HSJCC:
  • Guelph Police Service
  • Wellington OPP
  • Waterloo Regional Police
  • Crown Attorney’s Office (Ministry of the Attorney General)
  • Defence Lawyers
  • Bail Support (Youth in Conflict with the Law)
  • Probation and Parole (Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services)
  • Legal Aid
  • Federal Parole (Correctional Services Canada)
  • Grand River Hospital
  • St. Mary’s counselling (Addictions)
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital
  • Guelph General Hospital
  • Homewood Health Centre
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Community Torchlight/Distress Centre
  • Central Ontario Specialized Network (Dual Diagnosis)
  • Salvation Army
  • John Howard Society
  • Self Help Alliance
  • Stonehenge Therapeutic Community
  • Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health
  • Community Health Partnerships
     
A "Reader’s Digest" History of HSJCC
 
In 2004, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, in partnership with the Ministry of Community 7.jpgand Social Services, the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Deputy Solicitor General and Deputy Minister of Correctional Services funded regional committees across Ontario to address mental health and criminal justice issues.
The first official meeting of the Waterloo-Wellington HSJCC took place in the spring of 2005 with the mandate of finding “locally-based solutions to issues” particularly in the areas of:
  • Prevention
  • Crisis Planning
  • Court assessment/support
  • System design
  • Case management
     
Before long, the HSJCC of Waterloo-Wellington had a regional committee and three local committees in Guelph, Kitchener and Cambridge. The Guelph committee focussed on local training needs and set up education opportunities for court staff and police officers. In Kitchener, the committee worked on the development and implementation of the Mental Health Court (Fall 2005). The Cambridge committee acted as a steering committee for the funds allocated from Trillium research project “The Cambridge Youth Mental Health and Justice Needs Assessment: A Framework for Mental Health Diversion for Youth, 2004”.
 
Wanting to clearly identify system gaps in service, the Regional HSJCC funded a research project “to gather and synthesize information that would assist the HSJCC to optimize the delivery of mental health services across the region.” In June 2006, the Orchard Park Institute presented their findings. The research identified gaps in service at the pre-charge phase, in the court system and following release from custody, or during probation. At each of these critical juncture points, the research made recommendations for enhanced, specialized staffing, greater communication between agencies and increased services such as transitional housing.
On the basis of this research, the Waterloo-Wellington HSJCC prepared a funding proposal to receive new resources from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Eventually, new funds were allocated for positions in Pre-charge Diversion, Bail Support Coordination, and Probation Support Coordination (these positions are currently part of the Mental Health and Justice Program of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Grand River Branch)
 
Pre-Charge Diversion Support Coordination
 
The Pre-Charge Diversion position, seeks to provide the police with alternatives to arrest under the Criminal Code or apprehension under the Mental Health Act. Where a person’s behaviour and actions 22.jpg

do not warrant the laying of a charge and there is no risk of harm to self or others, the police have the discretion to call upon the Mobile Crisis Team (administered by Trellis in Guelph-Wellington and the Canadian Mental Health Association Grand River Branch in Waterloo) to assess the situation and determine what further intervention is most appropriate. If there is a need for short term support, the Pre-Charge Diversion support Coordinator may assist the individual to access treatment, medication, housing or other supports as needed. Intervention and support at this juncture keeps individuals out of an already overburdened criminal justice system, and gives them the necessary supports to address the challenges related to mental health issues.
 
Bail Support Coordination
 
When a person is charged with an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada, the individual is brought before a judge for a “Show Cause” hearing, also known as Bail Court. Mental health issues may not have been identified and yet may be a contributing factor to the behaviour which resulted in the criminal charge. This is another juncture at which the Bail Support Coordinator may identify an individual with mental health challenges, assist them to complete bail conditions and/or refer them for a diversion program, if appropriate.
 
Probation Support Coordination
 
Within the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Probation Officers supervise individuals placed on probation for up to 3 years. Often, a mental health challenge is not identified until this juncture. The Probation Support Coordinator provides consultation to Probation Officers and support to individuals who may require access to treatment, medication or other mental health supports.
 
Relationships within the HSJCCs have contributed to:
 
  • The commencement of the Mental Health Court in Waterloo Region
  • Service Agreements Developed between Mobile Crisis Services in Guelph-Wellington and:
    • Guelph Police Service
    • Wellington OPP
    • Shelburne OPP
    • Mount Forest OPP
    • Orangeville City Police
  • Memorandum of Understanding between Mobile Crisis Services in Waterloo Region and the Waterloo Regional Police Service
  • Waterloo Regional Police Service Risk Assessment Form
  • Form 2 Bail Procedure between the Crown Attorney’s Office and Grand River Hospital
  • Development of Orange Information Cards specific to Guelph, Rural Wellington and Waterloo Region. (shared widely by front line police officers and community mental health workers to individuals in crisis or in need of services)
  • Presentation by Michael Bay on the Personal Health Information Protection Act (November 2006
  • Mental Health Training for Court Staff (January 2007)
  • HSJCC Conference free to the community with speakers on the Mental Health Act, Dual Diagnosis, The Regional Crisis System and the Mental Health Court in Kitchener and Guelph (January 2008);  Annual Law and Order Conferences (2009, 2010); Dual Diagnosis/Mental Health In the Justice System: Walking a Fine Line (2011)
  • Purchase of Mental Health and Justice Resource books for Court Support Staff
  • Financial support for staff to attend justice and mental health conferences to increase and share collective knowledge.
  • Development of the “Mental Health, the Justice System and You – Understanding the Process and the People that can help” booklets for the Waterloo and Wellington community, agencies and professionals free of charge.
     
HSJCC's greatest strength is our relationship with one another.  As we meet, we are learning about each other’s mandates and priorities.  Though we are separated by agency policies and procedures, more often than not, our struggles are similar.  As we work together, the conversation is less about what is impossible, but what is possible when we work together!
 
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has". (Margaret Mead, US anthropologist & popularize of anthropology (1901 - 1978)
  
Submitted by:
 
Sharon Deally-Grzybowski, MSW, RSW
Chair, Waterloo-Wellington HSJCC
Manager, Mental Health and Justice Services
Canadian Mental Health Association, Waterloo Wellington Dufferin Branch​
 
 
 

 Featured