AMHO calls on Ontario to make addiction and mental health care a priority
January 20, 2017
Today, Gail Czukar, CEO of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, and Linda Sibley, Executive Director of Addiction Services of Thames Valley, presented AMHO’s pre-budget recommendations to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, in London, Ontario.
AMHO’s 2017-2018 pre-budget recommendations are directed towards making it easier for Ontarians to access comprehensive addiction and mental health care by investing in community-based services and supports.
We recommend that the Government of Ontario:
1.“Keep the lights” on for community mental health & addiction organizations to ensure current service levels can be sustained
- Provide a 3 per cent base budget funding increase for the community mental health and addiction sector, who have not had increases to their operational budgets in five to ten plus years.
Investment for 2016/2017: $30 million
2.Ensure the response to the opioid crisis focuses not only on saving lives, but on ensuring people have access to comprehensive community-based treatment and the opportunity to rebuild their life
Investment for 2016/2017: $3 million per year
3.Invest in a more comprehensive and accessible mental health and addiction system by implementing the recommendations of the Mental Health and Addiction Leadership Advisory Council, including:
- Core services: Work towards ensuring that all Ontarians, regardless of where they live, have access to the same core mental health and addiction services.
- Supportive housing: Provide greater access to supportive housing to help people in their recovery by funding the implementation of the Supportive Housing Strategy developed by the Council, which calls for the creation of a minimum of 30,000 units with supports over the next ten years, and is essential for the province to deliver on the strategy to end homelessness.
Investment for 2016/2017: $278 million
- Youth: Address the critical service gaps for mental health and addiction services for youth by increasing investments in additional staff and capacity.
- Psychotherapy: Improve access to psychotherapy by funding the training, hiring and competitive salaries of counsellors at community-based organizations
- Data and performance strategy: Support a comprehensive data and performance measurement strategy for the mental health and addiction sector, to identify health outcomes and measure the return on government investment
Investment for 2016/2017: $8 million
4. Direct future tax revenue from the sale and distribution of cannabis to increase the capacity of addiction and mental health prevention and treatment.