On January 30, 2012 the Ontario government announced its Action Plan aimed at transforming the health care system, address the demographic challenges in the province, and manage the deficit.
The Ontario government recently announced that it has saved an additional $100 million in new savings with the provincial drug system reforms. The reforms, launched in 2006, are saving the province $500 million annually; this year an additional $100 million will be saved.
People undergoing treatment for drug addictions will soon have access to free counseling supports, nicotine gum and patches to help them quit smoking. Over the next three years, the Ontario government will work with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to support approximately 23,000 smokers undergoing addictions treatment across Ontario.
The Social Assistance Review Commission, appointed by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, has released the second of three reports on possibilities for a transformed social assistance system. This second paper presents a variety of options in five key areas, reflecting community consultations held in summer and fall 2011. A companion document, summarizing Ontarians’ responses to the first paper, is also included in this release.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and the newly formed Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport are now welcoming applications to the 2012-2013 Healthy Communities Fund (HCF) Grant Program. The HCF grants program, now in its fourth year, provides non-capital, project-based seed funding to organizations across Ontario to deliver integrated health promotion programming in communities where it is needed.
January 23 is the deadline to make a request to present at a public meeting for the Ontario Human Rights Review.
In September 2011, the Government of Canada introduced the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10). According to a press release by the Department of Justice Canada, this Bill proposes various amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, including provisions to “increase the mandatory minimum penalties for nine existing offences to better reflect the serious nature of these offences, as well as to bring greater consistency in sentencing in these cases.” This Bill passed the House of Commons on December 5th, and had the First Reading in the Senate on December 6th.
The third annual progress card on poverty reduction has been released by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction. In its report, “Common Ground: A Strategy for Moving Forward on Poverty Reduction”, the Network observes that the Ontario government has made strides towards its goal of a 25 per cent reduction in child poverty by 2013, however it will need to increase its efforts in order to achieve it.
The Psychiatric Patient Advocacy Office (PPAO) has released their 2010 annual report. The PPAO has been providing rights advice, education and advocacy to Ontarians with mental illness for over 25 years. They offer both individual and system advocacy to provide a system of checks and balances for rights identified in the Mental Health Act (MHA).
In an annual report to Ontario’s legislative assembly, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has called for a new conversation on health focused less on health care, and more on health promotion and chronic disease and injury prevention.