South West LHIN Quality Symposium

Mental Health and Addiction: Achieving a High Quality System of Care

We regret to inform you that, after careful and lengthy consideration, we have made the decision to cancel the Quality Symposium, scheduled for May 31, 2018, as it falls within the writ of election period.

As a Crown Agency, the South West LHIN must remain neutral and non-partisan during the writ period, which extends from May 9, when the writ of election was issued, until a newly elected government is sworn-in after the provincial election on June 7. During this period, the government and its agencies assume a “caretaker role” and only routine, non-controversial or urgent business is conducted. 

While we felt the seasonality exemption for writ period communications may have applied to the Quality Symposium, we are the victims of our own success: its year-over-year success has made the Quality Symposium a significant platform and communications vehicle, which would have made it very difficult to respect the spirit of the caretaker role.

As public servants, we take the election process and our caretaker duties very seriously and feel this cancellation, while a sad thing to do, is the right thing to do.

We apologize for the inconvenience this represents for our participants, speakers, suppliers, staff and community partners, but thank you all for helping establish the Quality Symposium as an event of consequence. The event owes its success to you.



Keynote: Margaret Trudeau, Mental Health Advocate


Canadians fell in love with Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s beautiful bride when he brought her to the world stage as the youngest First Lady in the history of the country. Yet, as time went by, Margaret was unprepared for public life, and plagued by mood swings. After three sons with Pierre, the marriage ended. She then remarried and had two more children. But the tragic loss of her son, Michel, in a skiing accident and the passing of Pierre Trudeau a few years later, were too much to bear, and she became severely ill.


Today, Margaret has rebuilt her life once again. Now, she brings her formidable life story to the stage in her quest to help others, sharing her message of resilience with the goal of helping to inspire others and to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues.


Kirk Foat, Patient Advocate


Kirk Foat is a patient advocate who will share his extraordinary story of a serious injury in 2008 that left him in chronic pain and led him to start on opioids, and his even more remarkable journey of recovery tapering off the medications. He regularly speaks with physicians, health care professionals, patients and government leaders about the benefits of patient-driven empowerment, how to support patients in reducing their use to ‘zero’, and life after opioids.


Kirk is a graduate at University of Western Ontario and peer educator for South West Self-Management Pain Program, and works alongside pain expert Dr. Andrea Furlan as a patient reviewer of medical papers. He believes that he can provide lessons and lived experience to effect positive change for healthcare practitioners as well as give hope to patients.


Kirk’s inspirational story has been featured on CBC’s White Coat, Black Art as part of a series on opioids.


Dr. Nick Kates, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University


Nick Kates is professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University with cross appointments in the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University. For 12 years, he was the Director of the Hamilton Family Health Team Mental Health and Nutrition Program which integrated mental health counsellors and dietitians into the offices of what is now 170 family physicians across Hamilton. Nick was also Ontario Lead for the Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership which promoted quality improvement amongst primary care practices. He has been the Co-Chair of the Canadian Psychiatric Association - College of Family Physicians of Canada Conjoint Working Group on Collaborative Mental Health Care.


Dr. Kates will talk about improving the patient experience through a collaborative care model, and moderate a panel discussion: Improving the experience and outcomes for individuals living with mental health and addictions issues through a high quality integrated system of care.



The day will also feature a panel presentation: Improving the experience and outcomes for individuals living with mental health and addictions issues through a high quality integrated system of care.  


South West LHIN Quality Awards will be presented to organizations that have achieved excellence by working together on sustainable quality improvement initiatives.