October 20, 2017
AMHO’s CEO, Gail Czukar, presented our budget recommendations to the Federal Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) today in Toronto.
This year’s pre-budget consultation asked Canadians to share their recommendations on how to build more productive workplaces and communities. AMHO and our 220+ members see firsthand the impact of mental illness and addiction on productivity and the health of our communities. Each week, 500,000 Canadians will miss work due to a mental health or addiction issue, and the Conference Board of Canada has estimated that untreated mental illness and addiction costs the Canadian economy upwards of $50 billion a year.
AMHO asked the federal government to be a strong partner in mental health and addiction, and offered the following four recommendations (full submission available here):
- Invest in our communities;
- Partner with Indigenous Communities on mental health and addiction;
- Prevent the opioid crisis from continuing to worsen in Ontario; and,
- Target investments from the National Housing Fund into supportive housing for those with mental health and addiction issues.
The Health Accord investments in mental health and addiction are a welcome start. But Ontario currently spends only 6.8% of our healthcare budget on addiction and mental health. Other jurisdictions invest at least 9 to 10%, and the UK 13%. The Mental Health Commission of Canada recommends increasing investments to a minimum of 9%. In Ontario, at current health spending levels, the health transfer in year 5 will bring mental health and addiction spending up to 7.3% of the total health budget – an improvement, but we still have a long way to go.