Sunday, August 29, 2010

Committee Recommends the Creation of Mental Health and Addictions Ontario

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An August 26th media release from the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
The Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario today released its final report, "Navigating the Journey to Wellness: The Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Ontarians". This follows the release of an interim report (March 2010) that provided an overview of the hearings and activities of the Committee to that date.

Key Recommendations

The final report includes 23 recommendations. The main recommendation is the creation of an umbrella agency, Mental Health and Addictions Ontario, to design, manage, and coordinate the mental health and addictions system, and to ensure the consistent delivery of programs and services across Ontario.

The Committee's other recommendations include:
  • The consolidation of all mental health and addictions programs and services in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • The availability of a core basket of services in all regions of Ontario
  • Access to system "navigators" who can connect people with the appropriate treatment and community support services
  • The provision of additional affordable and safe housing units
  • Increased respite care to provide more support for families and caregivers
  • The creation of a task force to examine Ontario's mental health legislation
Each member of the Committee, regardless of their political convictions, recognized that all Ontarians must get the mental health and addictions care they deserve.

Members' Statements

"We have been privileged to work collaboratively with our fellow Members of Provincial Parliament, mental health and addictions experts and, most importantly, individuals and their families, to develop this comprehensive plan for mental health and addictions services in Ontario," said Christine Elliott (PC) and Sylvia Jones (PC). "It is our sincere hope that these recommendations will result in wellness, dignity, and opportunity for all Ontarians."

"As a Committee we were challenged by the people whose lives have been so completely altered by mental illness and addiction to be creative and innovative," said Maria Van Bommel (LIB) on behalf of the Liberal Members of the Committee. "Their stories forged the determination of Committee members from all political parties to develop a plan that will better the lives of so many deserving Ontarians. We are hopeful and proud to recommend the creation of a provincial agency that will change our approach to mental wellness and addictions recovery."

"I agreed to join the Select Committee because I knew we needed to do better," said France Gélinas (NDP). "Listening to all the testimony was very difficult. Our existing system has failed so many people, often with catastrophic consequences. Our recommendations will make Ontario an example of excellence for people facing mental health and addictions issues. I look forward to the implementation of the report."

The release of the final report marks the conclusion of the Committee's work. The report now moves forward to await debate by Members in the Legislative Assembly, and implementation of the recommendations by the Government of Ontario.

Background on the Select Committee

The Select Committee was struck on February 24, 2009 with a mandate to consider and report "its observations and recommendations concerning a comprehensive provincial mental health and addictions strategy". Over the intervening 18 months, the Committee heard over 230 presenters from all regions of Ontario and received more than 300 written submissions. The Committee also conducted site visits to mental health and addictions facilities as well as First Nations communities.

Each of the province's three political parties was represented on the Committee. The members of the Committee were: Kevin Flynn, Chair (LIB), Christine Elliott, Vice-Chair (PC), Bas Balkissoon (LIB), France Gélinas (NDP), Helena Jaczek (LIB), Sylvia Jones (PC), Jeff Leal (LIB), Liz Sandals (LIB), and Maria Van Bommel (LIB).

Copies of the report are posted on the web site of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario at under "Committees" - "Committee Reports".

For further information:

Office of Kevin Daniel Flynn, MPP, Chair of the Committee, Tel. (416) 325-1856,; Susan Sourial, Clerk of the Committee, Tel. (416) 325-7352,

Also see:

The right to refuse wellness

Three Provincial Umbrella Organizations Applaud Newly Released Select Committee Report on Mental Health and Addictions

Coyle: Mental health ‘crisis has arrived’ say MPPs

Next step is funding for mental health

Overhaul mental health relief and services, says Sandals

Report urges changes to mental health care in Ont.

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