Toronto, June 3, 2022- Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) would like to congratulate all candidates on their election campaigns. AMHO is looking forward to working with Premier Ford and all MPPs and their staff at Queen’s Park on mental health and addiction priorities.

Ontarians continue to face challenges with accessing mental health and addiction services. It is critical that healthcare investments go directly to where they are needed most – in community mental health and addiction programs to address the overdose crisis, growing wait times, and health and human resources challenges. Urgent investments are needed in the form of base funding increases, as well as sustained funding for services.

“There is work to be done to create the mental health and substance use health system our province needs and deserves,” said Alisha Tharani, Chief Executive Officer, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario. “AMHO and our members are calling on the government for continued collaboration with system partners, experts and persons with lived and living experiences to inform the significant investments needed in order to improve the mental health of Ontarians.”

Our ongoing recommendations to address the mental health and addiction crisis are to:

  • Implement a strategy to address growing wait times for mental health, addiction, and substance use health services, including baseline funding increases to community-based mental health, addiction, and substance use health providers by 8%.
  • Develop and implement a Health Human Resources plan to address the staffing challenges in the sector, including working towards wage equity to achieve wage parity with other sectors and removing compensation caps for workers on the front lines.
  • Respond urgently to the escalating overdose crisis and the drastic rise in overdose deaths, including restriking the Ontario Opioid Emergency Task Force.
  • Use a social determinants of health approach in designing and implementing mental health and substance use supports and services, including increasing the supply and access to supportive housing units and ensuring people with lived and living experience (PWLE) are actively engaged as partners in designing the system of care.

As our province works towards recovery from COVID-19, the wellbeing of Ontarians continues to be of paramount importance. The mental health and addiction crisis needs to be addressed immediately and needs to be a priority for all parties and MPPs. We are looking forward to working with the government and system partners to improve the mental health and addiction system for all Ontarians.

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