Canada’s health ministers are in the process of negotiating a new Health Accord, and Canada’s first ministers are set to discuss this at a meeting December 8, 2016. Health Minister Jane Philpott has been given a mandate to increase access to mental health and addictions services through these negotiations.
The Canadian government has shown their preference to provide targeted funding for specific programs, such as the $3 billion they recently committed for homecare.
This is a critical opportunity for our sector to call for investments in MHA, one we cannot let go to waste.
We are asking AMHO members to use this letter kit to write their local Member of Parliament (MP) to advocate for significant federal investments in the mental health and addictions system.
Ten years ago a ground-breaking Senate report urged Canadians to take mental health out of the shadows. The government established the Mental Health Commission of Canada. In 2012, Canadians were presented with a national mental health strategy.
There have been significant campaigns aimed at reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and addictions. We have been told that it is appropriate to ask for the help we need. Schools, workplaces and communities have become mental health-literate.
Yet Canada has a poor record of responding to the needs of people with mental illness and addictions.
Compared to other high-income countries we spend far less of our health care budgets addressing these problems. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and France spend well over 10% of their health care budgets providing mental health and addictions services and treatments. Canada spends about 7%.
It is time for our actions to catch up to our words.
The renewed Canadian Health Accord is the place to start.
We believe Canada can commit to increasing the mental health and addiction proportion of health care spending from 7% to 9%. This funding will increase access to evidence-based treatments and services that Canadians need to turn their lives around.
We have a national mental health strategy, we know what works and we know what needs to be done.
We would be happy to meet with you or to host you for a tour of our facilities to further discuss how we can work together towards an accessible and comprehensive system of addictions and mental health care.
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
The Honourable Eric Hoskins