February 23, 2021 (Toronto) – Today, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) will meet with Ontario Cabinet Ministers and Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) as part of a virtual Queen’s Park day to present AMHO’s 2021 budget recommendations.
“Roadmap to Recovery”, the title of AMHO’s 2021 budget recommendations, calls for the Ontario government to prioritize building a comprehensive and connected mental health and addiction system as part of the COVID-19 recovery plan.
“There was a mental health and addiction crisis in Ontario before COVID-19 and the pandemic has only put additional pressures on the people of Ontario and our healthcare system,” said Adrienne Spafford, Chief Executive Officer. “There is no recovery from this pandemic without both the physical and mental health of Ontarians. We need to work together to ensure supports and services are available to people when and where they need them most.”
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario represents over 200 organizations that provide front line substance use, addiction and mental health support and services. Every year, local mental health and addiction providers help more than 300,000 Ontarians on their road to recovery.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, AMHO members have worked tirelessly to support their clients in every region of the province. However, more must be done to tackle wait times and ensure that support is there when people need them most.
As part of the 2021 budget submission, AMHO calls on the Ontario government to:
- Release a ten-year investment strategy that outlines the implementation plan for the Roadmap to Wellness and prioritizes reducing wait times for services;
- Meaningfully engage with people with lived and living experience, their loved ones, caregivers and local organizations in the development and implementation of the Roadmap to Wellness; and
- Urgently respond to the escalating overdose crisis and the rise in deaths due to overdose.
The Ontario government has promised to create a comprehensive and connected system for mental health and addiction and to invest $3.8 billion over ten years. It is time to focus on implementing the Roadmap to Wellness with sufficient investments, meaningful engagement and co-design with the Ontarians AMHO serves, and a targeted strategy to combat the overdose crisis.
“We look forward to meeting with Ministers and MPPs today and working together with them moving forward to deliver the mental health and addiction system that Ontarians deserve,” said Adrienne Spafford.