(Toronto, March 26, 2020) – The following is a statement from Camille Quenneville, CEO of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division, in reaction to province’s 2020 economic and fiscal update released Wednesday:
“CMHA Ontario applauds the provincial government for yesterday’s economic statement which focused on supporting the health system over the next year as we aim to provide the best possible care for Ontarians in the wake of COVID-19.
“We welcome the government’s stated $12 million commitment to help the mental health and addictions sector. This is a slight boost to an already underfunded sector that is seeking creative and innovative ways to adjust service delivery despite challenges created by COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, mental health and addictions was not specifically identified in the budget documents, and the stated commitment falls far short of the one-time $100 million emergency response fund that CMHA Ontario, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario and Children’s Mental Health Ontario had advocated for. This proposed one-time emergency response fund, representing 2.5 per cent of the sector-wide budget, would’ve given providers greater flexibility to invest in critical emergency response areas in mental health and addiction care.
“We are, however, supportive of the government’s commitment to invest $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to front-line staff to tackle COVID-19. Like other areas in health care, our CMHA branches and staff on the front line are struggling with a shortage of personal protective equipment. CMHA Ontario is urging the province to prioritize making available personal protective equipment to our staff working in consumption treatment and overdose prevention facilities.
“As this ongoing crisis unfolds, we encourage our provincial government to consider the vital role community mental health and addictions care plays within the broader health care sector. As the government has stated, mental health and addictions care should be on the same footing as physical health care in all respects. Any operational or capital investment to help the broader health sector manage in the fallout of COVID-19 must include appropriate and dedicated funds and resources for mental health and addictions service providers.”
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization funded by the provincial Ministry of Health. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health. Our 29 local CMHA branches, together with community-based mental health and addictions service providers across the province, serve approximately 500,000 Ontarians each year.
For more information, contact:
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
T: 416-977-5580, ext. 4175