Toronto – The following is a statement from Camille Quenneville, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division, in reaction to the province’s 2023 budget:
“The provincial budget released today contains the largest base funding commitment for community mental health and addictions care in a decade. It is an overwhelmingly positive sign that the government understands the strain our sector is facing as we support Ontarians living with mental health and addictions challenges. It also demonstrates their desire to help those most vulnerable in society.
“In many ways, this is a historic budget for CMHA branches across Ontario and the broader community mental health and addictions sector. In addition to providing typical program-based funding, the government is stabilizing the sector with a 5 per cent boost to our overall operational budgets. This is extremely rare and we are so grateful to the government for hearing our call to action.
“The funding comes at the right time. In the past few years, requests for mental health support for adults have increased nearly 50 per cent, and more than 100 per cent for child and youth. Opioid-related harms and substance use have continued to rise across the province. A surge in demand for services has led to heavier workloads for staff and contributed to burnout and attrition at rates we’ve never experienced.
“It was also encouraging to see targeted funding for supportive housing as part of the government’s commitments. Evidence shows that supportive housing can help a person’s journey to recovery from even a severe mental health issue. With an estimated 25 to 50 per cent of homeless people living with a mental health condition, this issue is important to many communities throughout Ontario. We look forward to working with our municipal partners to help address this challenge.
“With our sector partners, CMHA Ontario has been advocating for structural funding to help meet an increased demand for service. This funding will go a long way to help community-based mental health and addictions agencies support Ontarians in need of mental health and addictions care, retain and recruit qualified staff and address rising operating costs.”
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization. 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:
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario