Summary of Recommendations
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario welcomes the opportunity to provide this submission to the Ontario government on behalf of our 30 community branches across the province. For the 2017 Ontario budget, we offer the following recommendations:
- Increase Overall Funding to Manage Demand and Reduce Wait Times in the Mental Health and Addictions Sector (pg. 6)
CMHA Ontario supports the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s recommendation to increase spending on mental health and addictions to nine percent from seven percent of the overall provincial health care budget. Currently, Ontario spends approximately $3.5 billion of the $51 billion health budget on mental health and addictions.
- Invest Locally to Support Ontarians Where They Live (pg. 6)
CMHA Ontario recommends a three percent base budget increase for our 30 community branches which provide front-line service to nearly 100,000 Ontarians. Our branches have not received base funding increases in several years. Any new investment is almost always tied to delivery of a specific program and not to overall operations. As a result, branches struggle with staff retention, rising hydro costs and administrative expenditures that impact service delivery.
- Invest in Core Mental Health and Addictions Services (pg. 7)
CMHA Ontario urges the government to support the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council’s (“the Council”) approved list of guaranteed core services that should be made available to all Ontarians no matter where they live:
- Prevention, promotion and early intervention services
- Information, assessment and referral services
- Counselling and therapy services
- Peer and family support services
- Specialized consultation and assessment services
- Crisis services
- Intensive treatment services
- Housing and other supports (social determinants)
- Significantly Increase Access to Psychotherapy (pg. 8)
CMHA Ontario recommends, and the Council has endorsed, a significant investment in improving access to psychotherapy services (also referred to as talk therapy) for all Ontarians. CMHA Ontario also recommends a province-wide expansion of talk therapy programs such as CMHA York and South Simcoe’s Bounce Back program which is a cost effective, evidence-based intervention that teaches cognitive behaviour therapy skills to help adults boost and maintain their mental health.
- Provide Greater Access to Supportive Housing to Aid Recovery (pg. 8)
CMHA Ontario supports the Council’s recommendation to expand the supportive housing system for people with mental health and addictions conditions with the creation of 30,000 new units in the next decade, building at a rate of 3,000 units every year. The estimated annual costs to expand supportive housing to adequately meet demand in Ontario is $278 million in the first year, rising cumulatively to $721 million by 2027.
- Invest in a Data and Performance Measurement Strategy (pg. 10)
CMHA Ontario supports the Council’s recommendation for additional investment for a comprehensive data and performance measurement strategy for Ontario. The estimated additional costs for establishing a comprehensive data and performance measurement strategy is $24 million over the first three years, and approximately $8 million in operating costs annually.