This site has 2 goals
2. Creation of Ministries of Mental Health and Addictions at the federal, provincial and territorial levels
Across Canada, mental health and addictions services are most commonly provided through departments of health, numerous other departments and a wide range of related agencies. The result is a complex, uncoordinated and inefficient system of care.
In 2010, a select, all-party committee of the Ontario legislature discovered that mental health and addictions services were funded or provided through at least 10 ministries. The committee also noted:
Community care is delivered by 440 children's mental health agencies, 330 community mental health agencies, 150 substance abuse treatment agencies, and approximately 50 problem gambling centres.
There is...no single organization responsible for ensuring that mental health and addictions services and supports are delivered consistently and comprehensively across Ontario.
The all-party committee unanimously recommended the creation of an"umbrella" organization to design and coordinate the mental health and addictions system. British Columbia took this idea further and in 2017 created the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. It's a ministry like every other ministry with its Minister reporting and answering to the Legislative Assembly.
Ontario has taken a tentative step in this direction. In September, 2017, a private members bill (Bill 149) to create a Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions received second reading and passed into committee for further discussion. It remains there because of government inaction.
Unlike the unanimous all-party report from 2010, the vote on second reading of Bill 149 fell largely along party lines. Even MPPs who signed and submitted the report voted against the bill or abstained. Some said the report recommended an "umbrella organization" while the bill created a Ministry. They fail to understand the necessity of government accepting its responsibility for mental health and addictions by creating a dedicated ministry. They fail to understand that a ministry is a stronger, more responsible and more direct way to deliver the urgently needed services and supports. Those politicians have turned mental health and addictions into a political issue. That's not right.
The Government of Saskatchewan has also recognized the importance of improving the coordination and delivery of health services, including mental health and addictions. It is amalgamating 12 health regions into one. While this is different from creating a ministry, it's another indication that scattered, uncoordinated heath services don't work. The Saskatchewan Health Minister said: "This will allow for more standardization of mental health and addiction services across the province."