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Dr. Catherine Zahn: Eliminate Institutional Anti-Black Racism at CAMH & Stand with SAPACCY

This petition had 109 supporters


Signing this petition will help us to strengthen our advocacy efforts to address institutional anti-Black racism at CAMH, including securing sustainable long-term Mental Health and Addictions services for African-Canadian youth.

The SAPACCY Program (Substance Abuse Program for African-Canadian and Caribbean Youth) is the only publicly funded program of its kind in Canada, and is a vital Mental Health and Addictions service for African-Canadian Youth at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

It is being undermined.

The SAPACCY Community Coalition is calling on community members, residents of the Greater Toronto Area, and other supporters to #standwithSAPACCY.

As Canada's leading Mental Health & Addictions hospital, and as the program's steward, CAMH has failed to champion SAPACCY. Instead, CAMH has escalated its anti-Black racism practices by reducing the number of staff while the demand for services has steadily increased. Since the SAPACCY program began, funding has not increased because CAMH has not advocated for it. Over the past eight years the leadership and organizational support for the program has significantly diminished. 

Since mid-2016, community advocacy efforts have resulted in the addition of one social work position which is by no means enough to adequately respond to and address the pressing mental health and addition service needs of African-Canadian youth in the Greater Toronto Area. In addition, to the SAPACCY Program the Coalition is concerned about:

1. Over-representation of African-Canadian clients in clinical programs at CAMH

2. The lack of leadership and appropriate response to addressing anti-Black racism in CAMH. CAMH has no coherent plan, strategy or resource commitment to addressing this concern. 

3. Serious gaps regarding CAMH’s clinical environment as it relates to the level of clinical competence in anti-oppression and addressing anti-Black racism; and poor treatment of African-Canadian clients in CAMH’s clinical care

4. The lack of African-Canadian representation on the Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership at CAMH

5. Deaths and over-restraint of African-Canadians clients in the care of CAMH.

The five points above describe the crisis in mental health and addiction services for the African-Canadian community at CAMH. To address this crisis the Coalition demands the following:

1. The Chief Executive Officer of CAMH, Dr. Catherine Zahn, publicly respond to the community’s concerns and commit to implementing the community's demands in a timely manner

2. The Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH), Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, Local Health Integration Network (LHIN's), Ministry of Children & Youth Services, Minister responsible for Anti-racism, and the City of Toronto work jointly to immediately stabilize and expand the SAPACCY program at CAMH, increase core funding and expand the staff complement to address present day Mental Health & Addictions service needs. 

3. CAMH immediately establish an African-Canadian Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council

4. CAMH work with the Coalition to develop a planned and expanded external collaborative community-based programming presence

5. CAMH develop an internal multi-year African-Canadian Mental Health and Addiction Strategy & Action Plan in consultation and partnership with the African-Canadian community.

NOTE:  The Coalition is comprised of community organizations, health professionals, community leaders and youth and is co-lead by the African Canadian Legal Clinic and Tabono Institute



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