Province Also Taking Action to Recover Health Care Costs Due to Opioid Crisis
Elgin-Middlesex-London, May 28, 2019 - Ontario's mental health and addictions system
is disconnected, with uneven access to quality services making it challenging for
patients and families to navigate a confusing system and get the services they need.
That's why the Ontario government is protecting what matters most by taking action
to improve quality mental health and addictions services and recover health care
costs due to the opioid crisis. Yesterday, Ontario introduced the Foundations for
Promoting and Protecting Mental Health and Addictions Services Act. If passed, this
act would establish a Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence within Ontario
Health and support the province's participation in the national class action lawsuit
British Columbia launched last year against more than 40 opioid manufacturers and
"In response to longstanding calls for stronger provincial leadership, our government
is taking a system-wide approach to building a connected mental health and addictions
system," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term
Care. "The proposed Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence would ensure
Ontario patients and families are able to access integrated, standardized, evidence-based
care and services no matter where they live. The new centre would lay the foundation
as we develop and implement a comprehensive mental health care strategy."
Creating the centre follows recommendations made in 2010 by the Select Committee
on Mental Health and Addictions, co-chaired by Elliott and established through a
motion she presented. Within Ontario Health, the proposed Mental Health and Addictions
Centre of Excellence would:
- Establish a central point of accountability and oversight for mental health and
- Be responsible for standardizing and monitoring the quality and delivery of services
and clinical care across the province, to provide a better and more consistent patient
- Provide support and resources to Ontario Health Teams, which is a new model to integrate
care and funding, connect patients to the different types of care they need and
help them navigate the system.
To respect taxpayers, the Foundations for Promoting and Protecting Mental Health
and Addictions Services Act would, if passed, support Ontario's participation in
the national class action lawsuit British Columbia launched last year against more
than 40 opioid manufacturers and wholesalers. The lawsuit was launched on behalf
of all provincial, territorial and federal governments and aims to recover government
health care costs incurred due to opioid-related disease, injury or illness. The
government intends to invest any award from this litigation directly into frontline
mental health and addiction services.
"Service providers, healthcare workers, and community members in Elgin-Middlesex-London
have been clear that local mental health and addictions resources are limited and
difficult to access," said MPP Jeff Yurek. "If passed, this proposed legislation
would ensure that a coordinated approach to mental health and addictions care will
play a strong role in our reformed healthcare system both locally and provincially."
Together, the government's actions will protect what matters most, respect taxpayers
and lay the strong foundation as the province develops and implements a comprehensive
and connected mental health and addictions strategy.
- The government has held 19 consultations across the province with mental health
and addictions community organizations, frontline service providers, hospitals,
advocates, experts and people with lived experience.
- Establishing a Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence is part of the
government’s plan to modernize our public health care system, which relentlessly
focuses on patient experience and better connected care, to reduce wait times and
end hallway health care. It is a major step toward integrating mental health and
addictions care into all parts of the health care system.
- This year, the government is investing an additional $174 million to support desperately
needed mental health and addictions services on the ground, in schools, communities
and health centres across the province. This is part of Ontario’s commitment to
invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to develop and implement a comprehensive and connected
mental health and addictions strategy.