AMHO urges the federal government to be a strong partner in addiction and mental health
October 20, 2017
AMHO's CEO, Gail Czukar, presented our budget recommendations to the Federal Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) today in Toronto.
This year's pre-budget consultation asked Canadians to share their recommendations on how to build more productive workplaces and communities. AMHO and our 220+ members see firsthand the impact of mental illness and addiction on productivity and the health of our communities. Each week, 500,000 Canadians will miss work due to a mental health or addiction issue, and the Conference Board of Canada has estimated that untreated mental illness and addiction costs the Canadian economy upwards of $50 billion a year.
AMHO asked the federal government to be a strong partner in mental health and addiction, and offered the following four recommendations (full submission available here):
- Invest in our communities;
- Partner with Indigenous Communities on mental health and addiction;
- Prevent the opioid crisis from continuing to worsen in Ontario; and,
- Target investments from the National Housing Fund into supportive housing for those with mental health and addiction issues.
The Health Accord investments in mental health and addiction are a welcome start. But Ontario currently spends only 6.8% of our healthcare budget on addiction and mental health. Other jurisdictions invest at least 9 to 10%, and the UK 13%. The Mental Health Commission of Canada recommends increasing investments to a minimum of 9%. In Ontario, at current health spending levels, the health transfer in year 5 will bring mental health and addiction spending up to 7.3% of the total health budget - an improvement, but we still have a long way to go.