Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Last year, AMAPCEO provided feedback on and recommendations for improving the Ontario Public Services (OPS) sensitivity and cultural competency in mental health services. Our recommendations were crafted after consultations with members of our equity caucuses and after reviewing feedback from a survey open to all equity caucus members.
Earlier this month, the OPS announced the launch of the new OPS Inclusive Counselling Services program, which provides professional and confidential mental health support for OPS employees and their family members.
The OPS Inclusive Counselling program facilitates access to counselling services for all OPS employees and eligible family members who self-identify as belonging to one or more of the following communities:
- East/Southeast Asian;
- South Asian;
- Middle Eastern;
- As a person with a disability; and
AMAPCEO is pleased to see several of our recommendations reflected in the Inclusive Counselling Services program.
AMAPCEO’s caucuses and surveyed members indicated that access to counsellors with specific lived experience or types of cultural awareness was a significant issue. In its description of the counselling program, the OPS Employer notes that ICS counsellors’ website profiles will include their outline sociodemographic backgrounds, their experience working with the above identified communities, and any religious affiliation, as well as the languages they offer services in.
In our submission, AMAPCEO also highlighted the importance of flexibility in the format of available counselling, so we are pleased to see that program counsellors will offer services in person, over the phone, or online.
The goals of the inclusive counselling services program include giving OPS employees and their families a say in who they receive services from, and helping to address systemic barriers and other social factors that have a disproportionately negative impact on mental health and well-being.
Learn more about the program and how OPS employees and family members can access it here.