The Ontario government is investing $90 million over three years through the new Addictions Recovery Fund to immediately expand addictions services and increase the number of treatment beds across the province. This funding will help thousands of Ontarians access enhanced specialized services for mental health and addictions treatment, including in rural, Northern and Indigenous communities.
“Both before and during the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in demand for high-quality addictions care that addresses the unique needs of vulnerable populations across Ontario,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This historic investment is an important step forward to protect our progress in our fight against COVID-19, and ensuring that individuals and families in every corner of the province have reliable access to the help they expect and deserve.”
Studies have shown that opioid-related deaths surged by 79 per cent during the first two waves of the pandemic, with Ontarians at risk of overdose facing significant barriers to accessing treatment. To meet the demand for treatment, investments will support 396 new addictions treatment beds for adults who need intensive supports, helping to stabilize and provide care for approximately 7,000 clients per year. Investments in other addictions services and supports include:
- Six new Youth Wellness Hubs offering developmentally tailored primary care and mental health and addictions treatment for youth ages 12 to 25;
- Two new Mobile Mental Health Clinics to provide a full suite of mental health and addictions services directly to individuals living in remote, rural and underserved communities;
- Three new police-partnered Mobile Crisis Response Teams to support individuals in a mental health or addictions crisis; and
- Additional community supports including day/evening intensive treatment, mild to moderate intensive treatment, and after-care programs.
“The impacts of mental health and addictions challenges can be felt in communities across the province, and our government is committed to supporting all Ontarians on their journey to wellness,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “By investing in targeted addictions services, we are making it easier for people facing addictions challenges to find and access support where and when they need it.”
- The $90 million Addictions Recovery Fund complements, but is separate from, the $175 million Roadmap to Wellness investment announced in the 2021 Budget, and is being invested over three years. Investments of $7.2 million are being made in 2021-22, and $41.39 million in each of 2022-23 and 2023-24.
- As part of Budget 2021, Ontario is investing $32.7 million in new annualized funding for targeted addictions services and supports, including treatment for opioid addictions. This funding is part of the government’s commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s comprehensive plan to build a modern, connected, and high-quality mental health and addictions system centred around the needs of individuals and their families.
- As part of this $32.7 million investment in annualized funding, the Ontario government committed $18.8 million towards bed-based addictions services for adults and youth who need intensive supports. This investment included $7.85 million for a total of 90 new treatment beds. This builds on Ontario Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence call for applications for new beds in substance use treatment services was issued to health service providers across the province.
- In 2020-2021, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the province invested up to $194 million in one-time emergency funding for mental health and addictions services.
- The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million in Breaking Free Online, an innovative therapy tool that makes it faster and easier for Ontarians to access safe and effective addictions supports. Ontarians can register at www.breakingfreeonline.ca and have free access to programming and resources for two years. Mental health and addictions service providers can also register their patients for this service.
- Visit COVID-19: Support for People to find information about the many available, confidential, and free mental health and addictions services and supports for Ontarians of all ages.
“The overdose crisis was escalating before COVID-19, and the pandemic only exacerbated the demand for addiction and substance use care in Ontario. When someone is brave enough to reach out for help it is critically important that they are met with care and not a wait list. The investments announced today in the Addictions Recovery Fund will ensure that more people have access to the care they need, when they need it most.”
– Katie Heelis
Interim CEO, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
“Today’s funding announcement is about so much more than additional beds for residential addiction treatment in Waterloo Region. It’s about lives that are going to be made better as a result. Knowing that the support we’re receiving today is also part of a larger plan to provide more addiction treatment options throughout the province is even better. We know and have seen that the need is great, and continues to grow. With this funding, we also know there will be help – and that is incredible news.”
– Tara Groves-Taylor
Addiction Services Director, House of Friendship