- What is a standard?
- How are standards developed?
- Could you provide a brief explanation about the Standardization Collaborative?
- Who can participate in the Collaborative?
- Will I get remunerated for my time and expertise?
- What is the structure of the Collaborative?
- What are the key milestones of this project?
- If committees have started meeting already, is there still time to participate?
- Could you please explain how the 6 priority areas were developed, and what is the role of the working groups within this context?
- Can we hear more about what the Standardization Roadmap is? Could you explain what a roadmap is?
- How were the Co-Chairs identified for the working groups?
- With respect to the priority areas, could you please explain the meaning of “people with complex needs”?
- Could you explain more about what substance use workforce means? Is that training and skills for those working in substance use? Or is it substance use in the workforce?
- What is the relationship between these new standards currently in development and the existing national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace?
- How will the new mental health and substance use standards be implemented?
- Could you please elaborate on conformity assessment?
- Will the standards also cover forensic mental health services under the Criminal Code of Canada?
- How much influence do the working groups have in the final standards? Are they just feeding into it, or do they comment on the final product?
- What are the requirements for participants to attend working groups?
- Are these standards related to Accreditation Canada standards in any way?
A standard is a document that was made by consensus and approved by a recognized body. It has rules, guidelines, or characteristics that are used often and in the same way. A committee or group of stakeholders makes the rules. Standards protect us like a shield that we can’t see. You might not know that they are working to protect the food we eat, improve the clothes we wear, and make sure that things like technologies can work together. They also help keep the environment safe and improve the quality of our lives. Organizations or businesses that follow recognized standards can show that they are using best practices, which builds trust.
Standards Development Organizations get their approval from SCC. As an accreditation body, SCC accredits organizations by checking to see if they meet standards that show the organization is qualified to do certain tasks. So, in this case, we accredit Standards Development Organizations to make sure they can create standards that meet our expectations.
A proposal for a standard can come from an organization that has noticed the need for a standard. The development process could use a document that already exists, or if there isn’t one, it could start the process of making a standard. Standards can be made on a national or a global level.
On a national level, SCC approves Standards Development Organizations to create National Standards of Canada. International standards are created by the technical committees and subcommittees of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Canada’s mirror committees help with international development.
A Standardization Collaborative is a platform that brings together a wide variety of stakeholders (such as policymakers, government officials, service providers, people with lived and living experience, etc.) to make sure that the standards being developed reflect these diverse perspectives. Among other things, the Collaborative will:
- Review and analyze the complex environment and topics in which standards are made;
- Use consensus-based strategies to make national standards-based deliverables that are integrated;
- Figure out what areas need to be standardized and put them in order of importance;
- Give information and advice on the scope and detailed statements of work for the deliverables before SCC hires third parties to make the documents;
- Find key stakeholders and technical expertise to help with the standardization process.
The goal of this initiative is for SCC to work together with interested parties to create standards-based deliverables for mental health and substance use services. Standards will help achieve consistency and trust in these services: they improve quality and outcomes throughout Canada.
Standards are based on working together, being open, and coming to an agreement. As such, we are committed to making sure the Collaborative is represented by a good mix of people from different backgrounds. Accessibility barriers to participation will be accommodated upon request. To register, please use the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.ca/r/YNR5VBW.
Standards development is pro bono work. However, for considerations of equity, SCC will compensate people with lived and living experience (PWLLE), indigenous partners, LGBTQ2S+ individuals, people with neurodiversity, members from marginalized communities, and more. Compensation will be provided for participation, expertise, advice, and direction in discussions about mental health and substance use as per SCC’s compensation policy. Individuals can request compensation if they perceive this is necessary for their involvement in the collaborative. Decisions will be made with consideration of equity and budget allocations. Please keep in mind that an agreement must be concluded with SCC before compensation is offered. We have developed a compensation policy. For inquiries, please email email@example.com.
The Steering Committee consists of the Government Advisory Table and the Working Group Chairs Sub-Committee. There will be at least four working groups which will each focus on different priority areas; these working groups may be further broken down into task groups if necessary.
|Steering Committee||Develop a Standardization Roadmap; advise on a conformity assessment strategy and standards deliverables.|
|Government Advisory Table||Provide input from provinces and territories on standardization activities.|
|Working Group Chairs Sub-committee||Discuss Progress of Working Groups and cross-cutting issues.|
|Working Group 1 –Foundation and Integration||Define terminology for the Working Groups|
|Working Group 2 –Primary Health Services Integration||
Deliverable 1: Integration of Mental Health and Substance Use in Primary Care Settings
Deliverable 2: Digital Mental Health and Substance use Applications
|Working Group 3 –Integrated Youth Services||Deliverables 3: Access to Integrated Community-Based Services for Youth|
|Working Group 4 –People with Complex Needs||
Deliverables 4: Integrated Mental Health and Substance use Services for People with Complex Needs
Deliverable 5: Substance Use Treatment Centres
Deliverable 6: Substance Use Workforce
|Spring 2022||Create the Steering Committee and hold the first meeting.|
|Spring 2022||Create Working Groups and Task Groups.|
|Summer 2022||Develop and confirm statements of work for all six standards-based deliverables to be created.|
|Summer and Fall 2022||Meetings of Steering Committee, Working Groups, and Task Groups to gather input for Standardization Roadmap.|
|Fall 2022 and Spring 2023||Public consultations on Standardization Roadmap.|
|Spring 2023||Publication of deliverables and Standardization Roadmap.|
Yes, there is. Individuals who wish to participate may register on the sign-up sheet for various working groups. While we would be glad to see individuals join more than one working group, we are mindful of people’s time; we would like to ensure that every participant does not extend themselves too much. The working groups meet virtually twice a month for a 1h30min session each.
We appreciate the participants’ time and commitments, and we will try to ensure that each participant will have meeting minutes, communication materials, and other documents shared with them promptly. If a participant is unable to join a certain meeting, sharing those materials would ensure that there would still be an opportunity to provide comments or suggestions. The committee membership is managed by SCC to ensure an appropriate level of stakeholder balance, diversity, and equity considerations.
9. Could you please explain how the 6 priority areas were developed, and what is the role of the working groups within this context?
The 6 priority areas were determined through the Government of Canada’s 2021 Budget, where mental health and substance use played key roles. However, as a result of this Collaborative, a roadmap will be developed to explore other areas beyond the initial six. This approach would hopefully allow the standardization process to address key issues and gaps in other equally important areas. Additionally, the standards’ deliverables will be developed by Standards Development Organizations with a request for a proposal. The committee members, who will contribute to the development of the roadmap, are invited to participate in that process at their convenience outside of the regular meetings of the collaborative.
10. Can we hear more about what the Standardization Roadmap is? Could you explain what a roadmap is?
The Collaborative will create what is known as the “Standardization Roadmap”, which will provide advice on how to effectively use the standards to improve mental health and substance use treatment outcomes for Canadians.
The Roadmap will be led by SCC with close collaboration from the Steering Committee and working groups. It will serve several purposes:
- It will provide guidance to governments on how to effectively use standardization tools to provide effective MHSU treatment options for Canadians;
- It will provide standards development organizations a clear picture of the standardization landscape today, including areas with adequate standardization tools available and other areas where more development is needed;
- It will provide private- and public-sector service providers with tools on how to measure the results of their treatment options, and pathways forward to get improved outcomes;
- It will provide the public with a clear picture of the standardization landscape today, and equip them with knowledge of where standards are today and where they will continue to advance in the future.
Overall, the Roadmap will gather input from everyone involved in the Collaborative and compile it in one clear document that will chart a course for the continued development of standardization tools to ensure Canadians have access to effective, reliable, community-focused, and world-leading mental health and substance use services.
Our Steering Committee Co-Chairs identified leaders from diverse stakeholder categories as co-chairs for each of the working groups. The Co-Chairs were selected before the first meeting of each working group committee meeting. SCC is governed by inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility considerations, and we apply these principles to this search process. We seek to ensure broad and diverse representation among co-chairs so that all participants in the working group can feel included and represented.
12. With respect to the priority areas, could you please explain the meaning of “people with complex needs”?
For this Collaborative, the definition of people with complex needs revolves around people who are experiencing mental health and substance use, but who may have other complex needs and related factors. This may include physical illnesses; a person’s living experience as a member of a marginalized community; a person being a victim of racism; a person from an immigrant background who may have experience with mental health and substance use in addition to a complex immigration process—therefore, a broad spectre of actors may be included. We aim to be as inclusive as possible, and we try to focus on people who experienced various barriers in getting healthcare they need. Broadly speaking, people with complex needs include individuals who have coexisting mental health and substance use health challenges. The category may also include individuals with a combination of multiple chronic conditions or mental health issues, medication-related problems, and social vulnerability.
13. Could you explain more about what substance use workforce means? Is that training and skills for those working in substance use? Or is it substance use in the workforce?
This encompasses medical personnel and other professionals that are providing mental health or substance use services. We know that these professionals are equipped with the skills and the experience needed to provide intensive support. The collaborative aims to seek clinical guidance for providing evidence-based care, and step care approaches. Individual medical personnel may not be fully aware of the latest knowledge, skills, and procedures in their practice, so standards can ensure that care provided is optimal and consistent. The use of substance in the workforce could be explored in further discussions of multiple working groups.
14. What is the relationship between these new standards currently in development and the existing national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace?
The key issue that we are looking at during the standard development process in this project is to avoid duplication and confusion within the system. Our goal is to build on previous work and experience to create new standards that would be used across Canada to deliver the same performance-based outcomes regardless of the service provider’s location. That is why we will encourage all members participating in this collaborative to come forward with their suggestions, best practices, both domestic and international, to ensure that we work to analyze and close gaps in mental health and substance use service delivery.
Standards are adopted on a voluntary basic. While their adoption could be mandatory if warranted by codes, laws, or regulations, this is not the case for this project. The Government Advisory Table that exists within this initiative will assess how these standards could be used in provinces and territories. Their efforts will be aided by the conformity assessment pilot to determine potential implementation uptakes and challenges.
The reason people want to use a standard or comply to a certification component is because this has many advantages for service providers and patients. SCC can accredit organizations to develop National Standards of Canada. We can also provide third-party assessments. This collaborative aims to develop a conformity assessment strategy and pilot projects to guide the potential certification and verification of mental health and substance use services to ensure all Canadians receive high-quality care.
17. Will the standards also cover forensic mental health services under the Criminal Code of Canada?
This question would need to be discussed within the working groups. SCC’s role in the standards development process is that of a neutral facilitator that aims to invite a range of relevant and required participants. For this project, the working groups’ participants will be creating the technical content of the 6 standards that will be developed. We will rely on the working groups to help us establish the scope and contents of the standards in question. We will also make sure that members of the collaborative will be able to participate in the development of these 6 standards in the way that suits their needs and availability.
18. How much influence do the working groups have in the final standards? Are they just feeding into it, or do they comment on the final product?
Members of the working groups will be able to influence the roadmap for the standardization throughout the duration of the whole project in various capacities, including, if desired, participation in committees of Standards Development Organizations. All decisions will be based on consensus, and Standards Development Organizations will use work information outlined by committees. More information about various means to contribute will be provided later.
Pending membership availability, anyone with relevant expertise can participate as a member of the working groups to represent their own perspective and interests. To become an official member, participants must sign a Code of Conduct, and review the Terms of Reference. Considerations for a balanced and diversity in stakeholder perspective are observed throughout the working groups’ overall work and activities.
Traditionally, any new collaborative, including this one, starts with a scoping exercise to determine the existence of any similar standards. While we do not want to duplicate the already existing standards, there are instances when standards can be updated. For example, if the Collaborative decides that there are certain issues that have not been covered in an already-published standard, this would be a useful opportunity to provide relevant and timely feedback. We also want to ensure that we are including best practices for mental health and substance use that have been developed across Canada at all levels, including provinces, territories, and municipalities. We aim to share best practices and put them into a standards development process for the benefit of everyone in this country.