Doug Ford makes announcement at CAMH on October 7, 2020

Ford Announces Millions in Mental Health, Addictions Supports

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for many, but for others it has been deadly.

Across Ontario, there has been a significant increase in overdose deaths, coinciding with the lockdown and other social distancing measures announced at the beginning of the pandemic. Between January and March, Ontario reported 446 opioid-related deaths, according to the federal government’s database. On Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced an additional round of funding to help expand access to mental health and addictions supports. The $176 million announced is part of the province’s A Roadmap to Wellness plan, which includes $3.8 billion of funding over 10 years to deliver high-quality mental health supports.

“Today’s ongoing investment not only delivers on our government’s historic commitment to invest billions in mental health over 10 years, but it will also provide care for thousands of people, including frontline health workers and first responders, who need such critical supports during these challenging times,” Ford said.

To enable the plan, the province is investing billions to create and expand services and programs to fill-in the urgent gaps in care, such as:

  1. $4 million in funding for nurse practitioners for detox services to be used to improve the medical management of clients, many of whom are struggling with addictions and mental health, at residential withdrawal management facilities.
  2. $8 million in funding for addictions care to be used to increase access to intensive non-residential addictions and substance use treatment services for youth and adults.
  3. $3.5 million for withdrawal management services to be used to increase access to in-home and community withdrawal management services for hard-to-service clients, such as those in rural areas and Indigenous communities.

"By making these investments, our government is making it easier for people to find and access high-quality mental health and addictions services when and where they need them," said Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott. "We're working across government and with system partners to provide long-term stability and investments in critical services to improve and modernize the system and close urgent gaps in care."

Wednesday’s announcement was at CAMH, which celebrated the grand opening of the third phase of their redevelopment project, which included the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building that will be used to promote recovery and integration into the community for patients in a connected and coordinated system of care and the Crisis and Critical Care Building that will be used to house Ontario’s first 24/7 emergency department dedicated to mental health.

"I thank the government for investing in this transformation. The CAMH redevelopment is a symbol of progress – respectful and dignified spaces that support the best in crisis and complex mental health care,” said CAMH President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn. “We look forward to working with the government to bring health equity to people living with mental illness."

The province has now contributed more than $350 million to the sector.