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Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Panel (MHAAP)

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Objectives and Terms of Reference

Recent Board Recommendations regarding MHAAP

Mental Health and Addictions Strategy


The Board, at its meeting of February 21, 2019, approved the establishment of the Board’s Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Panel (MHAAP) (Min. No. P36/19 refers) which superseded its current Mental Health Sub-Committee.

As noted at that time, MHAAP is comprised of members of the Board, members of the Service and members of the community, ensuring that this includes representatives from organizations run by and for people with lived experiences. It is important that the membership reflect the diversity of Toronto with representatives from major as well as more locally-based groups or organizations serving youth and marginalized and racialized groups. An emphasis was placed on including individuals with both client-focused and direct lived experience of mental health and addictions issues (includes lived experience in addictions or substance use, including harm reduction and service delivery) as well as those with expertise in the areas of law and human rights, accountability and data.

In particular, it was stated that there must be at least two members with direct lived experience of mental health and addictions issues or who are connected to an organization representing people with lived experience of mental health and addictions issues as part of the membership of the MHAAP.

As the report states, MHAAP will also have a number of representatives from the Toronto Police Service.


At its meeting of December 16, 2022, the Board approved the current membership of MHAAP (Min. No. P2022-1216-4.0. refers).

  • Lisa Kostakis, BSW, RSW – Toronto Police Services Vice Chair, MHAAP Board Co-Chair
    Appointed as a Toronto Police Services Board Member in July 2020, Lisa Kostakis has over 30 years of experience within the non-for profit sector, working and leading organizations throughout the City of Toronto. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Believe To Achieve (BTA), a registered non-profit organization which provides opportunities through educational, social, recreational and creative programs and services, to support our community, so that every child and youth feels empowered, loved, and supported, while enriching their everyday lives. From 2014 to 2022, she served as the Executive Director of Albion Neighbourhood Services, Albion Boys & Girls Club, a multi-service agency that has been serving the GTA for 50 years, previously serving as the organization’s Director of Programs and Services from 2007-2014. Lisa is a graduate of York University with a degree in Psychology, a graduate of Ryerson University with a Social Worker degree, and a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Lisa was also one of the “Founders/Steering Committee Members” of the FOCUS (Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services) Rexdale table, which now operates across Toronto. These are multi-disciplinary tables that address elevated risk situations – an initiative developed by the Toronto Police Service, in partnership with the United Way and the City of Toronto in 2012. Throughout her career, Lisa has been committed to developing and sustaining strong partnerships among community service organizations, and becoming a strong leader in many initiatives, in areas such as community safety, accessible services, government relations, systemic change, and new stakeholder partnerships. Lisa was also a recipient of the Queen Diamonds Jubilee Medal in 2013, in recognition of her many years of service in the various communities that she has served throughout her career.
  • Kevin Haynes – Community Co-Chair
    Kevin Haynes works in the Provincial System Support Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He is the Provincial Network Lead for SAPACCY, a provincial network of integrated and culturally responsive mental health and substance use services for Black youth in Ontario, and an Adjunct Lecturer in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. Kevin has been a member of MHAAP since its inception, and is also a member of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) Steering Committee. He has developed and delivered numerous trainings on the intersections of race, mental health and policing for Members of the Toronto Police Service, as well as trainings to support the implementation of non-police responses to mental health emergencies in the community for the Toronto Community Crisis Service.
  • Yvonne Armstrong
    Yvonne is a professor in the Faculty of Social and Community Services at Durham College in Oshawa. She teaches courses in the Police Foundations program, as well as coordinating the Advanced Law Graduate Certificate program. Prior to her teaching role, Yvonne was a senior police constable and trainer with the Toronto Police Service. She spent 13 years with the Service, where she held various roles including undercover and, investigative positions, along with acting as a coach officer to new recruits. A certified facilitator with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, she currently teaches Mental Health First Aid to first-year students and is a contract instructor with TNT Justice Consultants for their special constable training. Yvonne holds a Police Foundations Leadership diploma from Humber College and a Master of Arts degree in Learning and Technology from Royal Roads University. The focus of her thesis research was on the use of simulation to train police officers in how to interact with Persons in Crisis. As a former police officer, Yvonne has first-hand knowledge of the challenges and successes related to police interactions with persons experiencing addictions and/or crises and is passionate about research and education in this area. Yvonne will be commencing her doctorate of criminal justice education in January 2023.
  • Sonya Bourgeois
    Sonya Bourgeois is an Associate Director with Toronto Public Health at the City of Toronto, where she oversees the Toronto Drug Strategy and the Toronto Indigenous Health Strategy. Responding to the drug poisoning crisis, promoting mental health and wellness, and working with Indigenous partners on key health initiatives are among her top priorities. Previous to her work with the City of Toronto, she held a number of policy portfolios in the Ontario Public Service, focused in the areas of violence against women, community services and health system strategy, public health, and gender-based policy. Sonya is currently the President of the Redwood Shelter, a safe haven for women and children fleeing violence. In this capacity, she is an advocate for gender rights, anti-racism, and anti-oppression, and works closely with the Board of Directors to influence the strategic vision of the organization and the overall economic and social well-being of women and children who access the Redwood’s services. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Wellesley Institute, and holds a Masters in Social Work, with a focus in policy and research.
  • Rachel Bromberg
    Rachel Bromberg is the Co-Founder of the Reach Out Response Network, which supported the City of Toronto in developing the Toronto Community Crisis Support pilots. She is also the Executive Director of the International Crisis Response Association, which is a network connecting individuals across Canada and the United States who are building or leading alternative crisis response programs in their communities. Rachel is currently working with the Region of Durham, ON, New Orleans, LA, and Northampton, MA to support these municipalities in developing alternative crisis response models. Rachel sits on the Ontario Peer Development Initiative's Board of Directors, the Mental Health Commission of Canada's National Advisory Plan Committee, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Constituency Council, and the Toronto Regional Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee. Rachel is also a JD/MSW student at the University of Toronto, and she works with the education department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health providing trauma-informed de-escalation training to inpatient and outpatient staff.
  • Jennifer Chambers
    Jennifer Chambers is the Executive Director of the Empowerment Council, an organization that serves as a voice for clients/survivors and ex-clients of mental health and addiction services, primarily of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The Empowerment Council had standing at the Andrew Loku Inquest and informed the resulting recommendations. She was a Co-Chair of the Board’s former Mental Health Sub-Committee and is also a member of the Board’s Anti-Racism Advisory Panel (ARAP).
  • Susan Davis
    Susan Davis is the Executive Director at Gerstein Crisis Centre, a 24-hour Mental Health and Substance Use Crisis Centre in Toronto. She has over 30 years of experience in the community mental health field, with many years in direct service, as well as leadership. Susan actively engages in the development of innovative services, partnerships and systems that improve access to the supports people need and that recognize the impact of the social determinants of health on people’s overall well-being. She currently chairs the Downtown and Toronto Region Human Service and Justice Coordinating Committees. Susan is a Board Member at Working for Change, a social enterprise organization that provides employment opportunities for individuals living with mental health and substance use issues. She is committed to creating services and systems that consider the whole person, treat all people with respect and dignity, and create opportunities for people living to maximize their well-being.
  • Leah Dunbar
    Leah Dunbar has over 15 years of experience in health care and education project management in Canada and internationally. A program manager and bridge builder, she approaches complex programs, partnerships, and community initiatives with optimism and unity. In her current role, Leah is working to support public safety personnel / first responder mental health initiatives. She is also board chair at Cota Health, a community-based organization that supports adults with mental health and cognitive challenges to live well within their communities. Previously, Leah managed a mental health partnership between six Toronto hospitals and the Toronto Police Service (MCIT – Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams), worked in various community health projects across Ontario, and gained experience as a teacher in Ontario and Qatar. Leah holds a Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University and Master of Education from Niagara University.
  • Susan Gapka
    Susan Gapka (she\her\elle) is a dedicated campaigner for social justice highlighting her record on affordable housing, homelessness, mental health, harm reduction & lesbian, gay, bisexual & trans issues since coming out as a community leader more than 20 years ago. Susan helped establish the Toronto Police Service’s LGBTQ Community Advisory Committee and has served as a Toronto Community Housing tenant representative on the 51 Division CPLC for more than a decade. Susan has served on the Toronto Local Advisory Committee & as Toronto representative on the National Consumer Panel of the At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project, the Housing Component for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She has also served as a Board Member on the Empowerment Council funded by the Centre for Addiction and Mental (CAMH) for several terms as co-chair. Susan has a degree in Political Science from York University & a diploma in Community Work from George Brown College.‎ Susan is a proud recipient of the City of Toronto Pride Award (2004), CAMH Courage to Come Back Award (1999) and Canada 150 Difference Maker in Mental Health (2017) and awarded a Key to the City of Toronto (2018) and most recently the Grace Hartman Award with Canadian Union Public Employees (CUPE) National (2021).
  • Andrew (Andy) O’Brien
    Andrew has over two decades of entrepreneurial experience, helping grow and sell four companies. He is the CEO and entrepreneur of a multi-million dollar podcast production firm, and the long time business partner of Michele Romanow (Dragons’ Den). He is the founder of Obie & Ax Inc. who are also hosts and vendors for the Toronto Police Service’s podcast 24 Shades of Blue, a podcast that gives the Toronto community a behind the scenes view of the Service's activities. In addition, his company works with firms across the globe to assist them in Diversity and Inclusion efforts. A recovering addict with over four years of recovery, Andrew runs a Narcotics Anonymous meeting weekly, and works closely with Homewood Health Centre for whom he has opened as their nationwide keynote presenter. He also speaks to students across Canada, sharing his story of addiction and recovery. Andrew also serves as a member of the Board of Governors for the Mackenzie Institute, which globally consults, advises on and contributes to numerous international security and defense conferences
  • Olu Quamina
    Olu Quamina has worked in both the non-profit and public sectors for 25 years, and has an extensive background in community engagement and social development. He is the founder and former Executive Director of Concrete Roses Youth Services, a non-profit organization focused on developing youth violence prevention and community safety interventions. In his former role as Community Development Officer-Youth Violence Prevention with the City of Toronto, he co-chaired two FOCUS Toronto tables (Rexdale -23 Division & Downtown West -14 Division). He is the recipient of the Mayor’s Community Safety Award, the City of Toronto’s Community Impact Award and the YMCA’s National Peace Medallion. Currently, Olu works as Manager of Revitalization and Renewal Communities with Toronto Community Housing Corporation. He also leads a private practice focused on addressing the mental health impacts on frontline service providers. He is a registered social worker and holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
  • Peter Rampat
    Peter Rampat began working for the Toronto Police Service in 2003, and was a police constable for 15 years, working in a variety of Divisions, including 53 and 43. During his time in 43 Division, Peter established a not-for-profit martial arts club for at-risk youth through ProAction Cops and Kids, which involved many police officers helping to mentor young people, many of whom went on to become police officers or join the military. For this work, Peter was presented with the Jack Sinclair Award in 2009 for the most innovative police youth program. Peter spent the last four years of his policing career at the Training and Education Unit at the Toronto Police College as a training constable, where he developed the knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach a variety of police-related subject matter during in-service training. Peter’s focus of study while at the College was to integrate holistically best practices in de-escalation into use of force theory. His work in this area earned him a seat as a critical decision-making committee member and later, on the expert technical table with the Ministry of the Solicitor General, focused on evaluating police de-escalation training in Ontario. In March of 2019, Peter resigned as a police constable with the Toronto Police Service and accepted a position at the Ontario Police College, as the lead instructor of the officer safety program. In that role, Peter has been responsible for researching best practices, collaborating with experts, and implementing training for current and future police officers to de-escalate persons in crisis.
  • Steve Lurie
    Steve Lurie was the Executive Director of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Toronto Branch, a nation-wide charitable organization that promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing a mental illness, from 1979 until his retirement in 2020. CMHA had standing at the Andrew Loku Inquest and informed the resulting recommendations. Steve has been working with TPS on mental health issues in a variety of capacities since 1989. He is currently the Co- Chair of MHAAP and is the Co-Chair of the City of Toronto Community Advisory Table for the Community Crisis Project. He was named to the Order of Canada for his work in mental health as an administrator, scholar and advocate.
  • Benjamin (Benni) Zaiser
    Benni Zaiser is a behavioral scientist with an interest in the cognitive processes that underlie de-escalation in crisis intervention contexts. His research regularly includes police officers and translates into evidence-based de-escalation, communication, counter-bias, and anti-stigma training. Benni's commitment to improve mental health and addictions supports across Greater Toronto started when he became a Distress Centres volunteer responder. There, he had the opportunity to intimately explore the experience of mental illness, addictions, and crisis of callers from Toronto and beyond. He is now a member of the Board of Directors and the Spirit of Volunteerism Committee of Distress and Crisis Ontario. He works as an officer with York Regional Police's Mental Health Support Team, the service's equivalent of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team. He sees his mission in leveraging the distinct perspectives he has as an active researcher, a community resource, and as a police officer, to gain a better understanding of both individual as well as systemic challenges that mental illness and addictions pose those involved in citizen-police encounters.
  • Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue
    Lauren Pogue is a 34-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, and presently the Deputy Chief of Community Safety Command. This Command pillar oversees Mobile Crisis Interventions Teams, as well as front-line resources that provide proactive and reactive public safety services, in partnership with key stakeholders and the many diverse communities in Toronto. She is the executive sponsor to the Aboriginal Internal Support Network, and is also the Co-Chair of the Chief’s Aboriginal Consultative Committee, working closely with the Indigenous community to continue building meaningful partnerships.
  • Sgt. John Liggio
    Sergeant John Liggio is the Toronto Police Service’s Mental Health Coordinator. After completing the Police Foundations program at Humber College, John began his career with the Toronto Police Service in November of 2000 at the age of 21 . He spent one year in Court Services(Old City Hall) before being hired as a Police Constable in December of 2001. John began his Policing Career at 33 Division in June of 2022, and over seven years there he held various positions, the majority of which involved front-line policing duties. In January of 2009 John transferred to the Toronto Police College where he was an In Service Training Instructor. There he was responsible for training Recruits, and officers who required their yearly use of force requalification’s. In May of 2011 he then transferred to the Toronto Police Marine Unit after successfully completing the COXSWAIN course. John spent over 7 years at the Marine Unit before he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the fall of 2018, which saw him spend two years as a road supervisor at 33 Division, and 6 months as a Detective. John then returned to the Marine Unit as a Sergeant in June of 2021 before his subsequent appointment to his current role.
  • Daphne Choi, Senior Analyst, Analytics and Innovation
    Daphne Choi is a Senior Analyst in the Service’s Analytics and Innovation Unit, and is a passionate leader in various roles throughout the community. In her role, she leads the development of analytical products, leading analysis for Mental Health and Addictions projects for the Service. Daphne has been involved with developing the TPS Public Safety Data Portal, contributed to early stages of the Race-based Data Strategy, and provides regular support to the City of Toronto for topical subjects including Transit Safety, Alcohol in Parks, and Short-Term Rentals. She also sits on the Ontario Volleyball Association Board of Directors as the Vice President – Administration, and chairs the Governance and Ethics committees. Upon graduation from the University of Guelph and Seneca College, she joined Peel Regional Police in 2008, and later joined the Toronto Police Service in 2016.
  • Ivy Nanayakkara, Manager, Wellness Unit
    Ivy Nanayakkara is the Manager of Wellness at the Toronto Police Service. Ivy has over 22 years of experience in the field of occupational health and safety and wellness. She has worked with many public and private organizations across Canada in the design, implementation and evaluation of employee health programs aimed at creating and sustaining healthy and productive work forces. Ivy has a strong interest and passion in including psychological health and safety into workplace health strategies. In her role at the Toronto Police Service, Ivy authored the Member Wellbeing Strategy and Framework, and has been actively modernizing the Service’s Wellness Unit, and Health, Safety and Wellbeing Programming for Members. Notably, Ivy was a key Service lead in the COVID-19 Pandemic Response, and championed a high-touch, Pandemic Support program for Members, which was highly successful, both in Member experience, and infection prevention and control. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario, and a Psychological Health & Safety Certificate from York University.
  • Acting S/Supt Kelly Skinner
    Kelly Skinner is an Acting Staff Superintendent with the Toronto Police Service and is in her 26th year of policing. Kelly is responsible for overseeing Field Services – Community Safety Command. Field Services encompasses Toronto Police Operations Centre, 911 - Communications Services, Traffic Services, Parking Enforcement, the Public Safety Response Team and the Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit. Prior to this role, Kelly led a number of uniform divisions, and was a Duty Senior Officer for the Toronto Police Operations Centre. With a wealth of Uniform Policing experience, Kelly developed an extensive background in various forms of investigation. Kelly’s dedication to fostering strong community relationships is evident through her involvement in the Service’s Police and Community Engagement Review (PACER) 2.0 committee, where Kelly co-chaired the Know Your Rights sub-committee, which developed the Service’s first “Know Your Rights” video and campaign. Kelly is also a long-time member of the Association of Black Law Enforcers (A.B.L.E) where she was a former Executive Board Member, and an A.B.L.E. 1996 Scholarship Award Recipient. Kelly also proudly serves as a Director with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto. Kelly firmly believes in the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, which leads to increased trust and positive outcomes.


Objective and Terms of Reference

The main objective of the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Panel (MHAAP) is to review the implementation of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and to provide ongoing advice to the Board with respect to this important work.

The terms of reference of the MHAAP are as follows:

  1. To review, provide advice and make recommendations to the Board on an annual basis, at a minimum, related to monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, and other matters related to policy involving mental health and addictions issues, including but not limited to the areas of:
    1. Joint initiatives, partnerships, and collaborations such as the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) program, including enhancements and expansion.
    2. The training and education of Service members in the area of mental health and addictions.
    3. The use of weapons, tools and equipment, such as Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs).
    4. Data collection and analysis, including the collection, sharing and release of information related to mental health and addictions.
    5. Mechanisms related to accountability and oversight.

Recent Board Recommendations regarding MHAAP

The Board, at its meeting of August 18, 2020, approved 81 recommendations, putting into place a roadmap for comprehensive policing reform. These significant recommendations include building new community safety response models, initiatives to address systemic racism and concrete steps to improve trust with our communities.  They followed robust public engagement that occurred over the months of June, July and into August 2020, following thousands of messages that the Board received from members of the public on police reform, accountability, and community safety priorities.

As part of these recommendations, the following was approved:

Make MHAAP permanent and require MHAAP to:

  • review its terms of reference in consultation with the Board at least every 3 years or when otherwise required;
  • review its membership at least every 3 years or when otherwise required;
  • meet on a quarterly basis, at a minimum;
  • meet with ARAP annually; and
  • share its minutes with ARAP and convene a joint meeting when there are issues of mutual interest and significance. 

Mental Health and Addictions Strategy

As recommended by MHAAP, the Service has developed a Mental Health Strategy.

The Strategy recognizes the significant priority the Board and Service place on responding to individuals who appear to be experiencing mental health and/or addictions issues, both in the community, and within our organization. It also creates a ‘roadmap’ to developing and implementing effective, comprehensive, compassionate and respectful responses to these complex issues.

The Strategy outlines the following eight key areas of commitment:

  • Preserving Life
  • Leadership
  • Cultural Competence, Equity, and Anti-racism
  • Stigma-free Environment
  • Continuous Learning
  • Advocacy and Partnerships
  • Evaluation
  • Transparency, Accountability, Oversight, and Reporting

For each area, the Strategy includes a set of Initial Action Items that will assist the Service in fulfilling its commitment. The Service will be evaluating the progress of the implementation of this Strategy and will work to address additional action items that follow.

To help inform the public and stakeholders of progress achieved in relation to each action item, details relating to each action item are reported in a publicly available dashboard.

The dashboard provides the status for each action item and other pertinent information including the lead unit(s), progress details, the area of commitment, and other relevant links. This dashboard will be updated on an annual basis. 


The Toronto Police Service also provides access to annual statistics on Persons in Crisis Calls for Service and Mental Health Act Apprehensions.

Please note the report consists of several pages. Navigate through the pages in the report using the arrows located at the bottom center of the report.