Ontario common assessment of need community of interest

The Ontario Common Assessment of Need (OCAN) is the evidenced-based, standardized assessment for the community mental health sector. OCAN promotes a consumer/client driven approach with the inclusion of a self-assessment. The tool supports conversations with consumers about their strengths, needs, and actions to address their unmet needs.

The OCAN Community of Interest is co-led by Canadian Mental Health Association(CMHA), Ontario, CMHA Peel Dufferin, and Community Care Information Management (CCIM) with the support of EENet. 

The OCAN Community of Interest's objectives are:

  • Provide a forum for sharing OCAN-related information.
  • Share recovery-oriented practices using OCAN that enhances a consumer-centred approach.
  • Share challenges and strategies related to OCAN use.
  • Share approaches to using OCAN data for quality improvement planning at various levels.
  • Engage with users of other standardized tools to identify common challenges and strategies and work towards a more streamlined and integrated system.
  • Engage new members in the COI working group to broaden the stakeholder base.


The knowledge exchange goals are:

  • Increase awareness of the project and its value to Ontario’s mental health and addictions system.
  • Increase interest in using the OCAN to inform service delivery, planning and policy decisions.
  • Increase quality of client information collected in the OCAN to support client care.


The OCAN Community of Interest established a working group, which meets on a monthly basis to provide leadership and support as it accomplishes its goals and objectives. This working group has approximately 20 members and includes representatives from the following stakeholder groups:

  • Persons with lived experience 
  • Community based organizations
  • Hospital organizations
  • Researchers
  • Government of Ontario representatives


Stakeholders who may be interested in participating in the activities of the Community of Interest include:

  • Persons with lived experience
  • Peer support workers who support persons with lived experience
  • Mental health and addiction service providers
  • Government of Ontario mental health and e-health leads
  • Ontario Ministry of Health and Community Care Information Management representatives
  • Ontario Health Team
  • The Centre of Excellence for Mental Health and Addictions
  • Ontario Peer Development Initiative members
  • Scientists analyzing OCAN data to better understand the characteristics and needs of client/consumer populations using community mental health services
  • Connex Ontario representatives (their information on organizations is built into the OCAN tool)
  • Other networks interested in OCAN use and OCAN data.


Through the years, the OCAN Community of Interest engaged in the following activities and developed the following resources:

Project Contact: 

Lead organizations

  • The Canadian Mental Health Organization (CMHA) Ontario Division
  • CMHA Peel Dufferin
  • Community Care Information Management (CCIM)

CoI leads

Linda Saunders
Quality Improvement Coach
Excellence Through Quality Improvement (E-QIP)
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division
lsaunders [at] ontario [dot] cmha [dot] ca

Diana Sousa
Program Manager 
Bramalea Care Collaborative
Canadian Mental Health Association, Peel Dufferin
SousaD [at] cmhapeel [dot] ca

Jennifer Zosky
Common Assessment Specialist
Ontario Health
jennifer [dot] zosky [at] ontariohealth [dot] ca 

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