Toronto, April 28, 2022 – Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) welcomes the commitment to invest $204 million in mental health and addiction care included in the Ontario 2022 Budget; however, there is more work to be done.
Wait times for mental health and substance use health care were on the rise prior to COVID-19, but since the pandemic, demand for services has increased to unprecedented levels, leaving too many Ontarians waiting to access care. It is critical that healthcare investments go directly to where they are needed most – in community mental health and addiction programs to address growing wait times and health and human resources challenges, and in the form of base funding increases.
“While the investments included in the budget will address incremental improvements, we know there is more 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 reduce wait times for services, address the health human resource challenges in the sector, and urgently address the overdose crisis.”
In February 2022, informed by input from member organizations, AMHO released “No Time to Wait”, our 2022 budget submission, which included our recommendations calling on government 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 the hospital sector 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.
AMHO and our members are calling on all political parties to make these solutions a priority in advance of the provincial election on June 2, 2022. Learn more about AMHO’s campaign and urge your local candidates to make mental health, addiction, and substance use health care a priority, at notimetowaitontario.ca
– 30 –
Manager, Public Affairs
About Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO)
AMHO represents nearly 200 addiction 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.