March 21, 2018
Please see below for a statement from Gail Czukar, CEO of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) in response to the Premier’s announcement this morning of $2.1 billion for mental health and addiction. Czukar is available to speak to media.
“Today’s $2.1 billion dollar announcement is far-reaching and historic. Ontarians with mental health and addiction challenges have been waiting a long time for this much-needed investment.
We believe this investment will go a long way towards expanding access to services and addressing critical gaps in the system. What makes today’s announcement historic is not only the significant sum of the investment, but it’s also how comprehensive the approach is. There is recognition of the importance of housing, the unique needs of historically underserved groups such as Indigenous, racialized and LGBTQ2S and others, and services that meet people where they are, whether that be in schools, the justice system or the community. It addresses key priorities across the system and across the lifespan, with a much needed emphasis on children and youth services, including expanding access to youth specific addiction services.
It was encouraging to see acknowledgement of the crisis levels in our current system, and commitments to increases that will sustain agencies that are struggling to balance their budgets as we speak.
This announcement is a strong response to the recommendations put forward by Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council. It provides an exemplary case study of the good work that can happen when a cross-sectoral group comes together to agree on the needs and priorities, and is supported to work with government to develop a vision and plan for a better system.
All in all, this is very welcome news for the one in three Ontarians who will experience a mental health or addiction challenge in their lifetime, and all of us who are impacted as family members, friends, caregivers, colleagues and neighbours. This investment will not only improve lives, it will save lives and it will lead to greater system savings as we are able to connect people to the help they need, when and where they need it.”
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About Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
AMHO represents over 220 addictions and mental health care organizations across Ontario. Our members provide services and supports that help Ontarians across the province, including counselling and case management, peer support and family support, employment services, residential treatment, withdrawal management, supportive housing and hospital based programs. As the collective voice of our members, we provide leadership and engage partners to build a comprehensive and accessible system of addiction and mental health care, and improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities in Ontario. We do this through policy work, advocacy initiatives, service development, knowledge exchange, education offerings and quality improvement work.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Gail Czukar, please contact:
Communications and Public Affairs Officer
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
T: 416-490-8900 ext. 229