Response to Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario
As the government acknowledges, the province lacks an effective, coordinated system for home and community care and this creates immense challenges that need urgent attention across Ontario1. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s proposed strategy, Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care, aims to specifically target many of these gaps and challenges identified across the health care system2. As the proposal states, “Many of these challenges arise from the disparate way different health services are planned and managed. Some — such as hospitals, long-term care, community services and mental health and addiction services — are planned and managed by the province’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). Others — such as primary care, home and community care services, and population and public health services — are currently planned and managed in different ways.”3
Submission to the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, December 2015
In January 2008, the Customer Service Standard became the first accessibility standard to be made into a regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). The purpose of this standard is to require eligible organizations that provide goods or services to the public or to other organizations to achieve accessible customer service. Compliance began in January 2010 for public organizations, and January 2012 for private and not-for-profit organizations.
In September 2013, the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council/Standard Development Committee (ASAC/SDC) began its review of the Customer Service Standard at the direction of the Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Employment. In fall 2015, the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Research and Innovation asked for public comments on the proposed revisions. The following is CMHA Ontario’s submission.
Submission in Response to Long-Term Affordable Housing Consultations, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
CMHA Ontario appreciates the opportunity to share our perspective and provide our recommendations to inform the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy for Ontario. We held an internal consultation with a group of our stakeholders, including local CMHA Branches: Niagara, Oxford, Champlain East and Nipissing to discuss the content of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing LTAHS consultation document. The following is a summary of our discussion.
The pre-budget submission from Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario asks the provincial government for appropriate investment in three key areas:
- Affordable Housing
- Income Security, Access to Education And Employment Supports
- Increasing Access to a Core Basket of Services
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.