Toronto – The following is a statement from Camille Quenneville, CEO of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division, in reaction to province’s 2022 budget released Thursday:
“The provincial budget released today neglected to recognize historical underfunding in the community-based mental health and addictions sector. The province has committed $40 billion to hospital infrastructure, while the budget speech remained silent on community-based mental health and addictions services. Two years into this pandemic, we know Ontarians are weary and struggling. Polling we have conducted throughout the pandemic makes clear that we need to increase available resources to support more Ontarians. Nearly 80 percent believe that we will be in a mental health crisis when the pandemic is over.
The budget does not provide for increases to base budgets for community-based care, which are much needed to continue to try to retain valued staff; manage capacity pressures related to the pandemic and make up for staffing shortfalls due to burned out staff. A survey last December conducted by Mental Health Research Canada found that mental health professionals (61 per cent) were second only to nurses (66 per cent) for reporting burnout in the health and patient care industry. Without sufficient funding to ensure that we retain our highly valued workforce, we will lose capacity and with it the ability to serve more Ontarians. Our data indicates that 66 percent of resignations in our sector are salary related.
CMHA Ontario proudly supports the Roadmap to Wellness and has done so since its release in March of 2020. Investments in the system are much needed and very welcome. The additional $204 million announced for this purpose today will assist the sector. However, our branches are struggling after years of flatlined funding, which amounts to losing base dollars each year due to inflation. The system cannot function well without investments in the people and organizations that provide client care. We will continue to advocate for additional funding to support our clients, those in need of service and the people providing care.
Our recently launched I Choose campaign is designed to remind Ontarians of the importance of investing in the mental health and addictions services in their communities. We look forward to thoughtful engagement over the course of the provincial campaign. We truly believe that mental health and addictions is a non-partisan issue – all parties support our cause and are committed to improving the lives of all Ontarians who struggle. The I Choose campaign will spotlight different challenges that impact how people access care in this province and can be found at ichoosemha.ca.”
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization funded by the provincial government. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health.
For more information, contact:
Communications, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario