Mental health and addiction mentioned in six of Ontario’s new ministerial mandate letters, government’s priority continues to be increased coordination and connectivity
September 27, 2016
After proroguing the legislature to deliver a speech from the throne September 12, Premier Kathleen Wynne issued updated mandate letters September 23 to her cabinet ministers outlining their key priorities for the remainder of the term.
Mental health and addiction were mentioned in six of the mandate letters, for the ministers of health, indigenous relations, children and youth, advanced education, community and social services and treasury board.
The mandate letters underscore that the government’s overall priority in the sector is to increase co-ordination and connectivity – including enhanced co-ordination with primary care, and better youth to adult transitions. AMHO was pleased to see aligning the adult and youth sectors articulated as a priority. However, there was no mention of increasing capacity in the sector.
Two key priority areas for addiction are outlined in the letters: to provide support to those with an opioid addiction, and explore evidence-based options on how to improve addictions programming for children and youth.
The government is also continuing work to address the social determinants of health, through their poverty reduction strategy and long-term affordable housing strategy. The basic income pilot will be launched by the end of April 2017, and on the supportive housing file, the government has tasked the Minister of Housing Chris Ballard, working with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and the Minister of Community and Social Services, with developing a policy framework to bring “more coherence” to the system.
The mandate letters also indicate that Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi will be taking the lead on developing a regulatory framework for marijuana legalization in Ontario.
Click here to read the letters.