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Current Issues

CMHA Ontario is currently providing policy research and advice on the following public policy issues.

Human Rights and Accessibility

People with lived experience of mental health issues or addictions (PWLE) may experience discrimination or accessibility barriers in many areas of life, including health services, employment, housing, education, and transportation. In Ontario, two major legislative frameworks protect the rights of and promote accessibility for people with disabilities, including mental health-related disabilities and/or addictions: the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). Additional programs such as the Ontario Disability Support Program provide access to income and employment supports. Read More

Chronic Disease Prevention and Management

Improving chronic disease prevention and management (CDPM) is a priority in Ontario’s current health care agenda. The CDPM framework, developed by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Promotion, has been widely disseminated across the health system. An implementation strategy, beginning with diabetes prevention and management, is currently being developed.Read More

Concurrent Disorder Services in Ontario

There are currently no provincial directions on delivering services to people with concurrent disorders, despite the fact that Ontario has focused much attention on integrating the mental health and addictions system. To address this issue, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario and Addictions & Mental Health Ontario have prepared an agenda-setting report to identify priority issues in planning, delivering and monitoring services for people with concurrent disorders that require attention in Ontario to ensure a high-quality health system, responsive to clients and accountable to funders.Read More

Justice and Mental Health

Canada’s criminal justice system is governed by the Criminal Code of Canada and is a complex network of independent but procedurally connected agents, such as police, prosecutors, courts, correctional agencies, and parole boards. Federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal agencies and organizations all play a part, but no agency or jurisdiction has control or ownership of the entire system.Read More

Emergency Room Wait Times

The Ontario Government has committed to ensure the delivery of fast, appropriate and high-quality health care. In 2004, the province launched the Wait Time Strategy to improve access to services. In 2007, the province expanded the strategy to address emergency department wait times in hospitals. Addressing emergency room wait times was named one of the government’s top two health care priorities, alongside improving access to family health care. Read More


It is well established that some groups (or populations) in society experience social and economic disadvantage – inequities – due to the unequal distribution of power, wealth and resources. The social determinants of health both determine and deepen inequities. Read More

Mental Health Promotion

Mental health has been defined as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to one’s community. Read more…

Ontario’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy

The Ontario government has developed a new strategy for mental health and addictions. “Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy” follows Ontario’s previous mental health strategy, “Making It Happen.” The new mental health and addictions strategy aims to be a person-centred approach, across the life span. Read More

Reducing Poverty

Poverty affects nearly 1.8 million Ontarians and is both a cause and a consequence of poor mental health. People can experience economic hardship as a result of a variety of difficult life situations, such as divorce, a death in the family, loss of job, etc. The resulting loss of income may lead to poverty in other essential resources, such as housing, education and employment. Evidence indicates that poverty — and the material and social deprivation associated with it — is a primary cause of poor health among Canadians. As a result, one’s quality of life is compromised, which impacts mental health. Read More


As Canada’s population continues to age, mental health services and supports for seniors are becoming a greater priority. While many seniors lead fulfilling lives without significant physical or cognitive changes, the challenges that come with aging can be debilitating. Physical ailments, mobility issues, chronic pain, cognitive and sensory impairments can affect one’s functional ability. Other challenges such as retirement, changes in income, widowhood, the loss of friendships through death, and new caregiving responsibilities can lead to social and emotional isolation. Research indicates that promoting and maintaining mental health among seniors has a positive impact on their overall health and well-being and significantly affects quality of life. Read More