The 2014-2015 Ontario Budget, Building Opportunity, Securing Our Future is a continuation of the government’s commitment to manage growth in spending and to balance the budget by 2017-18 while making strategic investments in key public services and helping to grow the economy. The government is moving forward with a 10-year plan for the economy focused on key investments in people, services, jobs, infrastructure, supporting growth and creating a good business environment.
Budget 2014 gives much attention and focus to jobs, economy, transportation and infrastructure, as well as issues connected to health care, mental health and addictions. Specifically, the government continues its commitment to fund Open Minds Healthy Minds: Ontario’s 10-year Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy to deliver mental health and addictions services to Ontarians in an integrated, coordinated and effective way.
Other issues also featured in the Budget include investments in affordable housing and homelessness prevention, indexing of minimum wage, and income security, employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities.
As part of its commitment to making every dollar count, the government acknowledged that it has acted on over 80 per cent of the recommendations of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (the Drummond Report). In this regard, the government continues to take strong but fair action to manage public-sector compensation and benefits costs.
Details of the 2014 Budget are available online.
Submission to the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment (April 2014)
One in three Canadians experience a mental health issue within their lifetime. Currently, more than 6.7 million people are living with a mental health condition in Canada. Mental health conditions occur across the life span, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or any other social location. More than 28% of people aged 20-29 experience a mental illness in a given year, and by the time people reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 people in Canada will have had or have a mental illness. Mental health poses a significant cost to our economy. A recent study released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) reveals that the economic cost to Canada is at least $50 billion per year, which represents 2.8% of Canada’s 2011 gross domestic product (GDP). Health care, social services and income support costs make up the largest proportions of these costs, and further, the cost to businesses equaled more than $6 billion in lost productivity (from absenteeism, pre-senteeism and turnover) in 2011. This study predicts that over the next 30 years, the total cost to the economy will have added up to more than $2.5 trillion. Given the mounting evidence, mental health has become an issue that can no longer be ignored.
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario is pleased to contribute to the dialogue on raising the minimum wage in Ontario. CMHA Ontario is a non-profit, charitable organization committed to improving the lives of people with mental illnesses and their families, and to the promotion of mental health for all Ontarians. We anticipate that our recommendations will help inform the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel as it considers research and the formulation of the Chair’s recommendations to the Ministry of Labour. This submission was developed in partnership with CMHA Brant, CMHA Hastings, CMHA Halton Region, CMHA Ottawa, CMHA Sault Ste. Marie, CMHA Sudbury/Manitoulin.
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.
The 2013 Ontario Budget, A Prosperous and Fair Ontario, builds on the government’s commitment to eliminate the province’s deficit by the 2017-18 fiscal year. The government’s social policy focus includes continued investment in health care, education, the environment and significant transformation of social assistance.
A joint submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario and Canadian Pensioners Concerned based upon the feedback of two forums on mental health issues facing older adults in Ontario. (May, 2012)
A submission from Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario providing feedback to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario on their second discussion paper, Approaches for Reform. (March, 2012)
A submission to Andrew Pinto, Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Review 2012. This submission was informed by the statements and experiences shared by participants at a stakeholder consultation meeting held at CMHA Ontario. (March, 2012)
A joint submission from Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario and Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, in response to “A Discussion Paper: Issues and Ideas”. (August, 2011)