The first meeting of what became the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs, usually referred to as the Federation, was in July of 1985. There was a series of meetings of successively larger groups of agency representatives who met to share resources and explore common issues. It was discovered that the issues faced were the same, regardless of the nature of the agency, its service or its location. The issues were independent of the individual manager and were, in fact, the issues of the service organizations and the broader system.
A provincial association of "organizations" was needed to represent the interests of community mental health service provider organizations, and to address their systemic issues. No such association existed to represent these agencies.
By 1988, the Federation was a voluntary, non-profit corporation with over 200 member organizations from across Ontario. This included Ontario Division of C.M.H.A., and most of the C.M.H.A. branches. As each member organization typically had more than one service program, this represented approximately 70% of all funded community mental health services in Ontario. When addiction services were moved into the Community Mental Health Branch of the Ministry of Health, they were welcomed into the Federation.
The Federation membership is made up of organizations which provide community mental health services and non- service alternatives, as well as addiction and substance abuse services. The current membership has reached 230 organizations.
The goal of the Federation is to enable its members provide high quality, comprehensive and accessible community mental health and addiction services. To achieve that goal, the Federation represents the views of its members in relation to service development, planning and coordination, funding and administrative matters, as well as development of provincial policy and legislation. The Federation also provides education event, resource materials and networking opportunities.
The Federation also provides a number of important services, including the Federation Insurance Plan (F.I.P.) with a legal retainer package, and Federation Health Insurance Plan (F.H.I.P.), numerous educational events and opportunities, newsletters and bulletins, information services and networking and resource sharing.
The Federation Board of Directors is elected annually by the membership, as are the standing committee members. There are usually 5 general meetings a year, in addition to special purpose and regional meetings. The Federation is a member-driven association which sets policy and is accountable to its membership through the general meetings, as well as the Annual General Meeting.
The Federation is committed to a constructive partnership with the Government, Ministry of Health, consumer/survivor groups, family organizations and traditional institutional service providers.