Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne publicly released mandate letters to each Cabinet Minister in late September, outlining key priorities in 2014-2015 for their respective ministries. This is the first time that expectations for Ontario provincial cabinet ministers have been made public. CMHA, Ontario is encouraged to see that seven of the mandate letters include improvements for individuals with mental health issues. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has been asked to continue with the fourth year of the 10-year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy while the Ministry of Children and Youth Services was asked to build on the momentum during the first three years of this strategy which focused on children and youth.
Both the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing were asked to collaborate with the MOHLTC to deliver coordinated, timely and quality services and expand supportive housing opportunities for people with mental health and addictions issues.
Improvements for individuals with mental health issues who have come in contact with the justice system were emphasized for two ministries. The Ministry of the Attorney General was asked to address systemic challenges related to the initial entry points into the justice system, including the bail process, and provide additional support to individuals with mental health issues. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is being asked to move ahead on its mental health strategy by working with community partners, stakeholders and other ministries to address mental health and addictions issues both for individuals who have come into contact with police or are in correctional facilities as well as for the front line police officers and correctional services staff.
Finally, the Ministry of Education was asked to modernize teacher education by including mental health and addictions among other topics in its mandatory training content.
To read the full letters that noted mental health as a priority, click below.
For a full list of the Mandate Letters, visit the Government of Ontario’s website.