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Deb came to OPDI in 2008 after having been E.D. for eight years of one of its member organizations, and serving on the OPDI Board of Directors for several years. She was a part time “public member” of the Consent and Capacity Board from 1987 to 1999, while working as owner/publisher/editor/sole staff of a special interest magazine. Prior to that Deb worked in the printing and graphic arts industry. Deb earned the diploma in Psychosocial Rehabilitation from Mohawk College distance education and taught one of its courses for several years. She was among the first group to be certified by Peer Support Canada (formerly Peer Support Accreditation and Certification Canada), sits on its certification committee, and is currently earning Mentor certification. Deb is married with two adult children, and lives on the east “mountain” in Hamilton. Deb enjoys acting in amateur theatre, gets peace from baking and canning, and enjoys quilt making, photography, drawing and painting, and wants to take on wood carving.

Raymond Cheng / Policy Analyst & Knowledge Exchange

Raymond was an Executive Director at a CSI and then took a year off learning at York University before coming to OPDI in 2005. His board experience at the Clarke Institute and CAMH has thankfully not extinguished his inquisitive and curious nature which comes naturally with an English Literature degree. He spends his spare time teaching English to a 3 year old dog and manners to a world-weary teenager, while listening in turn to a very patient spouse. Raymond is a fan of anti-poverty advocate John Stapleton and has taken his Open Policy Course not once but twice (it’s that good).

Allyson Theodorou / Manager of Finance & Member Services

Allyson began working for OPDI back in 1993 in its earlier incarnation as the former CSDI. Originally tasked as an administrative assistant, she has taken on other responsibilities including office finances, conference organizer and, working with graduates of the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program while they complete their internships. She is certified with Peer Support Canada, and is qualified to deliver OPDI Peer Support Core EssentialsTM Program training. Allyson lives with her husband, two teenaged boys and their dog Scout who they adopted from a rescue organization. In her spare time, Allyson enjoys spending time with family and friends, trying new vegan recipes and exploring a healthy lifestyle.

OPDI Location

OPDI closed its office on Yonge Street when the lease expired, and since then has held permanent and hot desks at a shared-space building called Centre for Social Innovation in the Annex area at Bathurst near Bloor. Staff work primarily from their homes in North York, Richmond Hill and Hamilton. They commute into the city as needed, using the Centre for staff and other meetings, or as a landing/ working space on days with multiple meetings. This move enabled us to redirect massive rent expenses to member services, vastly reduced our carbon footprint, and keeps staff healthier and happier by eliminating several hours per day for each of them on public transport. Since, “dropping in” is impractical, please make an appointment if you need to meet with staff. Mail or packages should be very clearly marked “Ontario Peer Development Initiative” and drop-offs should be handed directly to one of the Centre staff (reception desk on the ground floor) with a request to put it in OPDI’s mail spot. It is also a good idea to drop us an email to let us know if you have left or sent a package, so that we can be sure to stop in for it.

"From Madhouse To Our House"


September 5, 2017
The Brave New World of Health Quality Standards

The other day, I participated in a webinar for a draft presentation of Quality Standards of Care for Schizophrenia in the Community. As an individual with lived experience, my viewpoint was decidedly…

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