CSI Network Toronto Central LHIN

CSI Presentation at the Friends Center

Mike Moniz

The Consumer Survivor Initiative Network (CSI) presented a forum on May 3rd at the Friends Center. Our day started off with a keynote speech by David Reville reminding us that we are responsible for each other and that we can be a powerful voice for change. We came together as a group of consumer/survivors to discuss the proposed changes to ODSP and also to discuss the housing crisis in Toronto that directly affects our participants and their health. Mike and Lubna from Working for Change presented a great power point presentation on the proposed changes to ODSP. There was much fear and discussion regarding the changes. For people from our community who rely on ODSP for income and supports these changes often cause anxiety in our community. Mike and Lubna attempted to lighten people’s fears and to explain what might be taking place in the near future with the new government’s proposed changes.

Further, we also had round table discussions surrounding the housing crisis in Toronto that directly affect almost all of our participants. There continues to be a growing shortage of supportive and affordable housing for our participants, many are forced to live in unsafe and un-kept squalor as the apartment buildings, or rooming houses are often places the landlord do not care if they maintain the building. We discussed what might be done and what actions we could take as a group to make the housing crisis less of a crisis. We will reconvene later in the year to continue the discussion on both topics.

The proposed changes to ODSP around definition of disability if changes go forward will have a devastating impact on those with Mental Health disability. Those who work in Social Enterprise that employs many people from our community will also have to face more punitive measures against their income. The claw back of 75 cents on each dollar over 6,000. We hope to hold a forum in Jan or early February to look more closely at these changes.

CSI Madd Hatter BBQ 2019

Mike Moniz

On July 11 we came together in High Park for a few hours to celebrate positive mental health in the form of the second Mad Pride CSI BBQ. People came from far and wide, but all enjoyed themselves. Out of this World Café, one of the social enterprises catered the event with homemade hamburgers and hotdogs. In celebration of the Mad Hatter BBQ people decorated hats and were awarded prizes for the best decorated hats. We had a ice-cream truck stop by so that everyone could have a treat. For one special day people with mental health disabilities were able to come together as a group and have a great time without feeling the shame, stigma, and judgement of the outside world. It was so nice to see so many people gather together and have a great time. Lots of laughter was heard along with great conversation and comradery. We are grateful to the LHINs for the support and for the Gerstein Legacy fund that made it possible for us to put the BBQ on. We look forward to seeing everyone next year for our Third Annual Mad Pride BBQ.

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Our Booth at Pride 2019

Mike Moniz

This year marks the second year that the Consumer Survivor Initiative (CSI) and Gerstein Crisis Centre were able to partner up and take part in Pride Toronto. We had a colorful booth decorated with the rainbow colors and flags to celebrate Pride. We had a lot of traffic at out booth with a lot of interest in our CSI organizations and the Gerstein Centre, at least 3 times the visitors to our booth over last year. People were glad to see us at Pride Toronto representing our LGBTQ family and community.

The Gerstein Centre is a beautiful house that on Charles Street where people in need of a break from their surroundings can stay for 3-5 days and have a break from it all. They have access to healthy food, a warm clean bed, and great workers to listen and help council and direct them to supports that they may need.

We were able to publicize and promote our social purpose enterprises, A-Way courier, Working for Change, Out of this Work Café, Voices From the Street and the Raging Spoon. It was such a successful event we ran out of all our printed materials. We had a button design for this event and they were completely gone by early Sunday afternoon.  It was a great success and we look forward to next year.

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Alternatives 2018 Conference

Mike Moniz

I attended the Alternatives Conference in Washington DC a week ago it was my second time, I went a few years ago with our friend Diana Capponi. to Austin Texas.

My work occasionally allows me to attend one of these conferences. Michele MacAulay and Jennifer Chambers also attended this year. A big thank you to my to the CSInetworktclihn.ca for the funding to attend.

This years conference reignited a spark in me for doing the hard work of advocacy and speaking up about the dreams and hopes for those in my communities. Hearing from others who have struggled often makes me cry but it does something else it reaffirms why we need to hear personal stories.

Lots of work being done under very trying times for advocates in USA especially in Mental Health and addictions, a congress and a president that works against the poor and vulnerable. I don't need to rummage through this dirty laundry. I will leave that to CNN.

A election has changed the government in Ontario and many of the things that would have made life better for our people and communities now are gone. Very sad news indeed, we have faced disappointment before whether it happens during a recession or a government trying to balance the books etc. not lost on me is those who have and continue to struggle. No government should intentionally do harm to people.

Our community has waited a long time to earn a spot at the tables of decision making, we have worked hard with many others in our community to seek economic and social justice. I will continue to speak out seeking to win the hearts and minds of those who we need on our side, this is a gift from Pat Capponi. I'm not always the best at this I speak sometimes without thinking it through and jump to quick decisions.

The task at hand is often as great as trying to move a mountain, we are in this together, people very life's depend on us to engage and encourage building bridges a pathway forward with opportunity and choice grounded in principles of good policy.

So as I scan the horizon of hope, knowing that our wellness and health depends on our future together. Make a choice who do you stand with. #whodoyoustandwith


Mike Creek

You can see the conference program here!


CSI Network Mad Pride BBQ

Mike Moniz

On July 11th we had a BBQ in High Park to celebrate Mad Pride. Members of the Dream Team, Working For Change, Habitat Services Residents, Sistering Drop-in and members of Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre joined us for food, fun and prizes.