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June 2016

This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is made


The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)


Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) Réadaptation Psychosociale (RPS) Canada (PSR/RPS Canada)


An orientation towards recovery is at the centre of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada and has also figured widely in most recent mental health policy documents across the country. As well there are significant pockets of recovery-oriented practice on the ground, as well as emerging tools of various kinds to promote the broader adoption of a recovery orientation. However, as the Strategy notes:

“Experience in other countries and here at home tells us that it will take sustained action on many fronts to truly shift culture and practice in the mental health system toward recovery and well-being. Guidelines, indicators, tools, competencies, standards, curricula, leadership, ongoing training and education, policies and legislation can all play a role in re-orienting policy and practice. A range of recovery initiatives in Canada must be developed and implemented.”

Organizations such as PSR/RPS Canada have been actively advocating for a shift to a recovery orientation for many years and have been leading the way in developing a range of standards and competencies to guide services and help train providers in making this shift. In order to achieve this shift in practice it is important to increase the awareness across the mental health system of the resources that are available and encourage collaboration and the sharing of knowledge regarding recovery-orientated practices and policies.

There is currently a substantial opportunity to make progress across the country by leveraging the release of the Mental Health Strategy and building on the existing work and initiatives of PSR/RPS Canada.

The parties to this MoU

Mental Health Commission of Canada

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians around mental health issues. The MHCC is funded by Health Canada and has a 10-year mandate (2007-2017) to work towards a Canada in which everyone has the opportunity to achieve the best possible mental health. Among its initiatives, the MHCC created the country’s first mental health strategy, and is working to reduce stigma, 3 advance knowledge exchange in mental health, as well as examining how best to help people who are homeless and living with mental health problems.

In its role as a catalyst, the MHCC has created partnerships to focus on key projects and issues, and to make recommendations on how best to improve the systems that are directly related to mental health care. The MHCC provides its recommendations to governments, service providers, community leaders and many others, and works with these partners to implement them. Consulting with people who have lived experience of a mental health problem or illness and their families is also a central tenet of all of the MHCC’s work.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada

PSR/RPS Canada is committed to the promotion of social inclusion, recovery and well-being of all individuals and communities. It was organized in 2002 as a distinct Canadian entity whose members had formerly been part of the International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services. Members of the organization are both individuals and organizations who are dedicated to recovery orientated practices and are from a wide spectrum of interests including hospital and community service providers, people with lived experience and health professionals including psychiatrists. It has provincial chapters and is affiliated with AQRP. It is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health and is the Canadian English branch of the World Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation. PSR/RPS Canada is a leader in transforming the mental health sector through education, research and knowledge exchange. It advances education about psychosocial rehabilitation approaches in mental health and addiction services and systems and acts as an expert source of information on psychosocial rehabilitation principles and practices for Canadian mental health organizations, services and programs and the general public. In its brief history, PSR/RPS Canada has focused on establishing resources for use by the field including Standards and Definitions for Recovery Orientated Services; Competency Domains for Practitioners, a research bursary, an annual national conference. In addition local events are held by individual Chapters of PSR/RPS Canada.


This MoU reflects the fact that the MHCC and PSR/RPS Canada share the objective of fostering a recovery-oriented mental health system and commits the two organizations to working together, among others, to achieve this common goal.

To this end, both organizations will: 

  • Share best practices, findings and learnings, to better facilitate the work that each organization will continue to undertake independently;
  • Actively seek out opportunities for joint effort and cross-promotion of work of the shared work that we are doing on “recovery-orientated” practice;
  • Operate in a manner that encourages broader partnership with organizations that are not direct parties to this MoU; and
  • Work together to build the capacity of the whole mental health community to be better engaged in building a recovery-oriented mental health system.

The MHCC in its role as a catalyst and PSR/RPS Canada as a national association of professionals and agencies engaged in the provision of psychosocial rehabilitation services have identified a shared interest in, and the possibility to collaborate on, promoting, supporting and sustaining recovery-based policies and practices throughout the mental health system. These activities will help accelerate the practical implementation of recovery-oriented policies, programs and initiatives across the country and contribute to putting into practice the recommendations contained in Changing Directions, Changing Lives: the Mental Health Strategy for Canada.

Key to achieving this goal will be the development and wide endorsement of a range of recovery-oriented resources and tools, including standards, competencies and guidelines. As outlined in Schedule 1, the two organizations agree to work collaboratively to finalize and bring forward tools that PSR/RPS Canada is already in the process of developing and to help lead the process of developing a panCanadian guide to what constitute recovery-oriented practices and services.

This agreement in no manner impedes or infringes on the individual mandates of each organization nor its independence.

Shared Values

The signatories agree that they share some key values that are foundational to the spirit of a recovery-oriented mental health system as referenced in this agreement, including the importance of:

  • Striving to ensure that people of all ages in Canada who experience a mental health problem or illness and/or a substance abuse problem have equitable access to a full range of recovery-oriented resources and supports.
  • Modelling in all our work the principles that underpin a recovery orientation, including, but not necessarily limited to:
    • building on individual and community strengths
    • working in partnership
    • sharing accountability
    • A valuing of diversity and ensure it is operationalized throughout
    • promoting inclusiveness, openness and transparency
    • Recognizing the multiple psychosocial determinants of mental health and wellbeing and the impact of social and economic disparities on health outcomes.
  • Meaningful input and leadership from people with lived experience and families.
  • Supporting and strengthening existing efforts to promote and implement recovery-oriented policies and practices across the country.
  • Ensuring the inclusion of, engagement with, and participation by all those with direct or indirect involvement in the mental health system, including, but not necessarily limited to:
    • people with a lived experience of mental health problems and illnesses, their families and circles of care
    • service providers operating in all settings and from all disciplines
    • policy makers
    • system and program managers and administrators
    • researchers
  • Recognizing both the importance of fostering national, provincial/territorial, regional, local and sectoral capacity building amongst stakeholders and also enabling everyone to join together to build a pan-Canadian presence.
  • Both parties agree that Toward Recovery and Wellbeing: A Framework for a Mental Health Strategy for Canada (2009), and Changing Directions, Changing Lives: the Mental Strategy for Canada (2012) are foundational documents for shared priorities under this agreement.


MHCC and PSR/RPS Canada commit to:

  • Communicate openly and share information with each other for the purposes of this MoU,
  • Utilize the MoU as a reference point for both organizations, and to signal to the broader community our efforts to work together effectively to achieve positive outcomes for the community and,
  • An annual meeting of the signatories of both organizations and their delegates to review the implementation of this MoU and the broader issues affecting the mental health sector. These meetings can be via teleconference.

Financial relationship

Beyond any specific commitments that may be set in Schedule 1, the commitments of this MoU are not dependent upon any financial relationship (for example the commissioning of services) that might be negotiated separately.

Intellectual Property

Existing data, systems, information, materials and services, currently owned by each organization and shared with the other shall remain the property of each respective organization.

Each party will own any intellectual property created by it, the parties will own any intellectual property that they create together jointly and the parties will grant each other a license to use the intellectual property of the other, subject to third party rights.


The commitments of this MoU do not substitute or interfere with any legal responsibilities and obligations that might exist between the two organizations.

Notwithstanding any other provision or statement herein, the parties confirm that this MoU is intended to set out their intention to collaborate together but does not create any legal or other obligation between them.

Duration of MoU

This MoU will operate from date of signing to March 31, 2017 unless otherwise agreed between the parties in writing. If any party wishes to cancel this MoU then that party must inform the others in writing three months prior to such cancellation.

This MoU may only be varied by a document signed by all parties. Additional signatories may only be included with the consent of all parties.

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