From June 2008 through September 2009, the Mental Health Commission of Canada worked to develop its strategy through collaboration with governmental, institutional and community partners, and individual Canadians. This mandate was given to the Commission upon its creation in 2007 by the federal government, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments.
This project was an extensive, pan-Canadian public and stakeholder engagement process designed to provide Canadians with an opportunity to contribute to the development of a document entitled Towards Recovery and Well-Being – A Framework for a Mental Health Strategy for Canada. This “Framework” document set out the “what we as a community want to achieve” in the form of eight draft high-level goals for a pan-Canadian mental health strategy.
Close to 2,500 individuals and over 400 stakeholder groups participated directly in this process, from every Canadian province and territory, through a mix of online consultations and in-person deliberative meetings. Their feedback on the Framework (and on the Commission’s approach) was very positive and the congruence of what was heard in-person and online was striking. As a result, the Framework document was substantially modified to reflect this input – not merely ‘at the edges’ but in substantially changing the goals set down for the organisation.