The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) invites qualified individuals/organizations to submit a proposal for a contract to develop a mental health protocol as part of OCASI’s Refugee Mental Health Project.
OCASI was formed in 1978 to act as a collective voice for immigrant serving agencies and to coordinate responses to shared needs and concerns. Its membership is comprised of more than 220 community-based organizations in the province of Ontario. OCASI asserts the right of all persons to participate fully and equitably in the social, cultural, political and economic life of Ontario.
The ability of refugees to access the supports and services they need upon resettlement can be hampered by multiple intersecting barriers, including isolation, cultural differences, discrimination, demands of caring for children, language barriers and lack of access to transportation. Mental health, as one aspect of overall health and wellbeing, also plays a significant role in the ability of refugees to seamlessly integrate during the resettlement process.
Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Immigration and Citizenship, the Refugee Mental Health Project aims to improve the capacity of front line workers and Resettlement Assistance Providing (RAP) agencies in Ontario to respond to the mental health needs of clients, thereby promoting the integration of refugees into Canadian society. The initiative has three main objectives:
- Coordinating the response to gaps within the sector by establishing partnerships and advisory groups comprised of experts in the field
- Improving the effectiveness of services by developing the capacity of front line workers to respond to refugee clients with mental health and trauma needs
- Improving the effectiveness of services by developing a shared, standardized set of policies and procedures for use across RAP agencies when serving clients with mental health needs
Partnerships and Advisory Group
This project has established partnerships with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, Hong Fook Mental Health Association, and St. Michael’s Hospital to deliver trainings to front line staff, and has also established an advisory group comprised of RAP agencies, CAMH, and other stakeholders.
Front line Worker Training
This project is coordinating training sessions for frontline workers at RAP agencies and other immigrant and refugee serving agencies on understanding, recognising, and responding to mental health and trauma among refugee clients.
Currently, there is uncertainty and lack of standardized response across the sector when working with refugees with mental health concerns. This further creates inefficiencies in an already overburdened system.
As part of this project, OCASI will therefore develop a standardized protocol for use by agencies in Ontario`s immigrant and refugee serving sector when serving clients with suspected, witnessed or disclosed mental health issues.
Such a shared, standardized set of policies and procedures will, broadly, aim to improve the overall capacity of the sector to respond to clients’ mental health needs and streamline the agency response process.
Scope of the project
Please note that a ground up approach to protocol development is preferred. Please ensure your proposal incorporates details of how you intend to carry out the following:
Organize and conduct needs assessment with immigrant and refugee serving organizations with specific focus on RAP Centres to inform the project scope and deliverables.
Your methodology should incorporate surveys, focus groups and interviewing for the purposes of:
- Assessing the need for such a protocol
- Assessing the need for training on utilizing the protocol
- Increasing buy-in to training and protocol use
b)Development of protocol
In collaboration with the Coordinator, other OCASI staff, and the Advisory team, as required, and based on the results of the needs assessment, the developed protocol will be informed by the Ontario Human Rights Commission Policy on Preventing Discrimination based on Mental Health Disabilities and Addictions. It will incorporate a list of resources that staff should be aware of when applying the protocol in given situations, such as information about what constitutes mental health and illness, mental health assessment tools, and some of the resources that clients can be referred to.
Proposals should not exceed 5 pages and must include:
- An overview of the applicant’s understanding of the scope and requirements of the project
- A summary of the proposed process for needs assessment
- A detailed work plan outlining the activities to be completed and related timelines
- A complete and detailed budget summary
- Relevant qualifications and experience
- Examples of similar projects previously conducted by the applicant
- A brief description of how the applicant plans to work with OCASI staff and the project advisory committee
- 2 References directly related to comparable projects
- A statement by the applicant outlining their understanding of confidentiality as applied to this project and disclosing any real, perceived or potential conflicts of interest
The total budget will not exceed $10,000 (which includes HST and travel costs)
- Knowledge and understanding of Resettlement Assistance Service Providing Agencies and programs, Mental Health and Trauma
- Experience related to needs assessments within community-based initiatives and/or government-funded projects
- Proven experience conducting needs assessments that incorporate qualitative and quantitative methodologies
- Proven track record conducting projects of a similar scope
- Understanding of equity and access issues as they pertain to immigrants, refugees, newcomers and racialized communities
- Demonstrated experience integrating anti-oppression into social campaigns, policies and practices
To submit the RFP
Please submit your applications by 5:00 p.m. on October 28, 2016 to:
OCASI Hiring Committee
Please quote the following in the subject line: Mental Health Protocol Development Application.
For further information, please send your inquires to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All questions must be received at least seven (7) days prior to the proposal due date. The responses to your questions will be posted on ocasi.org
Thank you to all applicants, however, only short-listed individuals/organizations will be contacted.