At Addiction Services Central Ontario (ASCO), counsellors and clients work together to create new understanding and awareness about substance use and gambling that will support change. Below, we have set out a description of the terms and conditions upon which services are provided. If you have any questions about the policies and procedures described below, please feel free to discuss them with any member of our staff.
Who are ASCO staff?
- ASCO staff are skilled professionals with both educational qualifications and field experience. Our staff receive regular training and supervision in order to ensure that the quality of services to our clients meets professional standards. ASCO staff that belong to a regulatory college are required to adhere to that college’s Code of Ethics along with the agency’s Code of Conduct. You may ask about any staff person’s qualifications. The agency’s Code of Conduct and the Code of Ethics of the different regulatory bodies that our staff may be associated with are available upon request.
How long are the sessions?
- Individual sessions typically last 50 minutes and group sessions typically last a maximum of two hours. The frequency and number of sessions are based on a number of factors including the structure of the agency’s program and your needs.
Do I have to pay for services?
- Most of our programs are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and are therefore available to our clients at no charge.
- We also offer specialized programs, such as the Ontario Remedial Measures (Back on Track) Program for which there is a cost. A schedule of fees is available upon request.
What are the benefits and risks involved?
- There are many different approaches to facilitate change around addiction issues.
- Some people might find it sufficient to attend self-help groups or to gain social support from their significant others. There is evidence that improvement or recovery is unlikely if an addiction problem remains untreated.
- There is also evidence that counselling is helpful to support the change process(although there is no guarantee with respect to success). Our treatment is based on the results of standardized provincial assessment tools and an assessment of each client’s current or related past life situations.
- It is important to know that there may be times during or following treatment or counselling sessions when you experience some emotional distress and/or uncertainty, or physical symptoms due to change in patterns of your substance use/gambling behavior. Your counsellor will support and help you through this process.
- You have the right to withdraw from the program anytime should you decide to do so. Your decision will not affect any services you may receive from our agency in the future.
Can appointment times change?
- If your appointment time is not convenient for you, please ask your counsellor about alternative arrangements. We strongly encourage you to keep your scheduled appointment to ensure continuity of service. According to ASCO policy, clients who do not attend any 3 consecutive appointments without calling may be asked to go back onto the waitlist. Clients who cancel or reschedule 3 consecutive appointments with less than 24 hours’ notice may also be asked to go back onto the waitlist. Your counsellor will outline the attendance and participation expectations of your program.
Is my information shared with other health providers?
- With your consent, some of your information may be shared with other health providers in order to help them with the services they may offer you.
What program is right for me?
- The Intake Department will refer you to the appropriate program within ASCO.
- Some programs may have a waiting list. Many programs will allow 8 to 12 counselling sessions. You may decide that the program’s service is no longer needed or desired, and exit the program. You may also decide, in collaboration with the counsellor, that you have successfully completed the program. In addition, you and your counsellor may decide that upon completion of one program, you may be eligible to be transferred to another program within ASCO or referred to an external agency.
What is a treatment plan?
- If you are receiving counselling, in the first two to three sessions, you and your counsellor will collaborate in developing a clear treatment plan. It is important to know that your treatment plan will be based on your recovery needs.
What if I am receiving Case Management Services?
- If you are working with one of our case managers, you and your case manager will collaborate in the development of a clear plan to help you reach your goals. Once you and your case manager agree on a plan, it will stay in your file and can be referred to and modified as necessary.
What about confidentiality?
- The information that you discuss with your staff will be treated as confidential, and will not be disclosed outside the professional relationship without your informed consent. However, while ASCO staff will make every reasonable effort to safeguard your privacy and confidentiality, it may not be possible to maintain absolute confidentiality in all circumstances. ASCO may disclose your information in any circumstances in which it is legally or ethically compelled to do so, including the following:
- If you present as a danger to yourself or others, including ASCO staff.
- If there are reasonable grounds of suspicion of child abuse under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act 2017 or, if you are under 16 years of age, if you have been the victim of child abuse. (For example, the witnessing of violence in the home or risk to children due to the caregiver’s use of alcohol or drugs).
- An order, subpoena or summons is served by a court or other legal authority requiring disclosure.
- If there is a legal duty to report to a professional organization. (For example, when it is suspected that you have been the victim of a professional who has breached their profession’s Code of Ethics.)
- If you present a risk in the operation of a motor vehicle. (For example, a person arrives at a session impaired and insists on driving; the police will be notified if alternative arrangements are refused).
Where is my information stored to ensure privacy?
- Your personal information is protected by privacy legislation, (PIPEDA), Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, 2001 and the Personal Health Information Act, 2004 and will be collected, used and disclosed by ASCO only for the purposes of facilitating your treatment. We may also use your information internally to evaluate our own effectiveness and performance over time.
- ASCO employs reasonable security arrangements to ensure that your personal information can only be accessed by agency personnel and is not inadvertently or accidentally disclosed to third parties.
- Except as specifically described above or as required by law, ASCO will not release your personal information to other organizations/individuals unless you first give permission for us to do so.
- If you have any concerns or questions about the privacy or confidentiality of your information, you may contact our Privacy Officer at our main office, 14785 Yonge Street, Suite 210, Aurora, ON L4G 1N1.
What about safety?
- ASCO promotes and addresses any safety concerns. ASCO implements safety measures to reduce your risk including infection prevention and control issues.
What is expected of me?
- ASCO is committed to maintaining and upholding integrity, honesty, and fair dealing in all of our work. It is the expectation that all clients will treat staff and other clients with respect. A breach of respectful behaviour may result in disciplinary grounds up to termination of services offered by ASCO.
What are the rules around weapons, seclusion and restraint?
- Weapons are prohibited at ASCO. Staff at ASCO do not use any form of restraint. If a client reveals that they have a weapon on them, they will be asked to leave the premises immediately.
- A weapon is defined as an object carried on an individual when the individual has the intent to harm someone or themselves with this object. The object in question could be a gun, a stick, a knife, or any tool that could cause harm. If an individual clearly has intention to harm anyone or him/herself with a form of weapon, the police will be notified immediately.
How can I access my records?
- You may have access to information in your file through an oral or written request to the Clinical Director. An appointment will be arranged for you to review your personal information. To ensure confidentiality, we ask clients to review the information on the premises. Access to third party reports may be limited.
What do I need to do if I need a letter?
- If a letter is needed, five business days may be required to prepare the letter.
- The letter will reflect objective and factual information regarding your involvement with the agency. For further clarifications, please discuss with your counsellor.
- If a letter is requested, a name and address is required. ASCO does not provide letters “To Whom it May Concern”.
What if I have concerns or complaints?
- We encourage you to speak directly with your clinician about your concerns. If this does not seem possible, you may request to speak privately with the Supervisor or Clinical Director. The Feedback Form is available on the ASCO website and a hard copy is at reception in all of its offices. The reception area in all of its offices will display a suggestion box for complaints or suggestions. If you believe that your counsellor’s action was inappropriate or harmful, you can contact the Regulatory College to which the counsellor belongs.