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Addictions and Mental Health Ontario Welcomes Targeted Investments in the 2024 Ontario Budget

27th Mar 2024 AMHO News

Toronto, March 26, 2024 – Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) is encouraged to see targeted investments for the community mental health and addictions sector included in the 2024 Ontario budget.

With a commitment from the Ontario government to invest $152 million for supportive housing and $396 million for specific programs including the continuation of the Addictions Recovery Fund, more Ontarians will have access to the care they need and deserve. These targeted investments demonstrate the government’s recognition of the urgent need for stabilization of housing and addiction support for Ontarians, and represents a direct response to AMHO’s advocacy.

A strong foundation of housing and the associated wraparound services is one of the best ways to support Ontarians struggling with their mental health or substance use. This is especially important for individuals with serious mental illness and substance use challenges who often face years of waiting for these critical services. Similarly, today’s investment in the Addictions Recovery Fund has the potential to enhance addictions services and increase the number of treatment beds across the province – providing more Ontarians with access to care where and when they need it.

While these investments will help connect more people to the care they need, we know that more support is needed to stabilize our sector to meet unprecedented demands and address mounting pressures from the rising cost of staff, rent, utilities, and food.

AMHO continues to call on the Ontario government to invest in our workforce to address significant health human resources challenges. The widening wage gap between community mental health and addictions, and other sectors has made it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff – without which we cannot respond to the increasing demands for care. We encourage the government to continue to work with us and the community sector to address this wage inequity and co-develop a long-term health human resources strategy.

“Ontario’s 2024 Budget includes important investments that will help sustain and enhance access to addictions care and supportive housing for people struggling with their mental health and substance use health” said Alisha Tharani, Chief Executive Officer, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario. “While these investments are important, we cannot forget about the staff we need to provide these services. We continue to call on the Ontario government to immediately help us address the urgent recruitment and retention challenges we face by closing the wage gap.”

In February 2024, AMHO released “It’s Time to Act”, our 2024 pre-budget submission, which included recommendations calling on government to:

  • Invest $115 million in the community mental health and addictions workforce to address wage parity gaps, and for the implementation of a long-term Health Human Resources Strategy, inclusive of the mental health and addictions sector, to address increasing turnover and vacancy rates.
  • Invest $85 million to address operational shortfalls, stabilize services, and support community mental health and addictions providers.
  • Invest in the construction and ongoing operation of 40,000 new supportive housing units over 10 years. This equates to an annual investment of approximately $1 billion in capital costs from the federal and provincial governments; and an additional $100 million per year from the provincial government for the operation, upkeep, and staffing of supportive housing and wraparound services.

AMHO and its members look forward to continue to work closely with the Ontario government to ensure these investments go to where they are needed the most, and to ensure that every Ontarian has access to the mental health and addictions care they need.

Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) represents nearly 150 organizations that provide front line substance use, addiction, and mental health support and services. AMHO members support Ontarians through their mental health and substance use health challenges by providing community-based treatment, including counselling, structured psychotherapy, case management, withdrawal management, live-in addictions treatment, peer support, harm reduction supports, and supportive housing.


Media Contact
David Turnbull
Manager, Public Affairs
About Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO)

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