Community Advisory Board
The Community Advisory Board was established in 1983 to advise the Minister of Health and Long Term Care on mental health issues pertaining to Whitby Mental Health Centre and the communities it serves. The Board consists of seventeen volunteer members, appointed by the Minister, from across the facility's catchment area. Members bring diverse experiences and backgrounds as consumers, family members, community service providers, professionals, business leaders and community representatives.
The Community Advisory Board's purpose is to develop avenues of communication between the facility and the communities it serves. The Board interprets the mission of the Centre to the community and assists in promoting community awareness and understanding of mental health issues. The Board also provides a forum in which communities can assist the management of the Centre in order to best meet local needs for mental health services
Community Advisory Board committees and task forces include:
- 1. Executive
- 2. Quality Care
- 3. Nomination
- 4. Divestment
- 5. Communication
- 6. Partnerships
- 7. Accountability
The WMHC Community Advisory Board has taken an active role in the health services restructuring in the catchment area. Submissions were made to the Health Services Restructuring Commission (HSRC) for Toronto, GTA/905, Haliburton Kawartha and Pine Ridge and Frontenac Lennox and Addington. In 1997 and 1998 the HSRC advised the Minister of Health as follows:
"The HSRC has concluded that the WMHC should continue to serve residents of York, Durham, Victoria and Scarborough... as well as Haliburton, Peterborough and Northumberland Counties... This is consistent with the existing referral patterns: it will utilize available capacity, the expertise of existing programs and specialized psychiatric personnel... WMHC should be designated as a public hospital with its own governance structure. WMHC serves a sufficiently large and growing catchment area and could benefit from local governance with representation from its community."
"Develop and implement a plan to incorporate a new hospital corporation ... to assume the governance and management of Whitby Mental Health Centre . The plan is to provide for the transfer of ownership of the buildings and other assets to the new corporation. The governance structure for the new corporation must be representative of the communities served and have regard to their demographic, linguistic, cultural, economic, geographic, ethnic, religious and social characteristics." (HSRC, November 1997, March 1998, April 1998).
In response to the HSRC reports, the WMHC Community Advisory Board developed a "Transition Plan" to facilitate the implementation of the advice given to the Minister of Health. The plan functioned as a discussion paper on how the shift in governance would likely impact on WMHC. The content included: role and mandate; vision; values; proposed board composition; board selection process; governance principles and responsibilities; by-law development; human resource considerations; communication strategies; negotiations pertaining to assets and property; financial considerations; implementation; and many other features.
The "Transition Plan" and the HSRC's advice were the focus of four community consultations that were hosted by the Community Advisory Board in June and July, 1998. These were held in Richmond Hill, Peterborough, Whitby and Toronto (Scarborough). Each consultation session was a valuable forum to inform and to obtain public input into the likely impact of health services restructuring on WMHC. Overall, there was general support for the direction articulated in the plan and the likely sequence of events once the HSRC's advice is accepted.
In May 1999, the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, the Honourable Elizabeth Witmer, accepted the advice of the HSRC that was issued in 1997 and 1998.
In October 1999, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health proposed to the HSRC that WMHC be assumed into their governance structure. WMHC's Community Advisory Board, in response to this initiative, submitted a document to the HSRC conveying the Centre's perspective on the appropriateness of this proposal. The Board, after thorough analysis of criteria and principles pertaining to the alternate delivery approaches, recommended that the original advice of the HSRC should not be changed.
The HSRC concluded on November 9, 1999 that it "would not reconsider its decisions regarding governance at WMHC. Several governance options were considered in issuing Notices and Advice to the Minister with respect to WMHC in November 1997. The HSRC concluded that WMHC serves a sufficiently large and growing catchment area and would benefit from local governance with representation from its community."
In December 1999, Michael Klejman, Regional Director Central East, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, indicated that work would begin with "WMHC to divest its operations to a public board" and that a Ministry Implementation Team (governance) would be formed in the near future.