Ontario Expanding Support for Addictions Treatment Throughout the Province

Published on July 07, 2021

Funding Will Expand and Enhance Addictions Services and Supports Across the Continuum of Care


News Release

TORONTO —The Ontario government 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.

“The devastating impacts of mental health and addictions challenges can be felt in every community 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 addictions services across the continuum of care, from prevention to recovery, we are making it easier for people to find and access support where and when they need it.”

As the province continues the fight against COVID-19, this funding will help to enhance access to evidence-based, high-quality addictions services and address urgent gaps in needed supports across the continuum of care, including:

  • $2.25 million to support elements of the Toronto-based opioid response proposal by the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network to support the individual’s journey across the continuum of care, including: expanding the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics; establishing addiction consultation services in acute care settings; and coordinating and integrating services between Toronto providers to make transitioning between supports easier for clients and improving continuity of care.
  • $6.9 million in provincial opioid response investments including: adding harm reduction workers provincewide; expanding RAAM clinics and establishing Acute Consultation Services in areas with high rates of opioid use.
  • Over $18.8 million in bed-based investments for adults and youth who need intensive supports, including: adding 30 new youth treatment beds at Pine River Institute, a multidisciplinary program serving children and youth ages 13 to 19 with addictive behaviours and other mental health challenges; adding new adult addiction treatment beds; supporting existing bed-based treatment services including withdrawal management services at Bluewater Health and at Sault Area Hospital; and coordinating the transitions in care between service providers.
  • $4.75 million for community-based services to support lifelong stabilization and recovery, including: supporting an innovative, virtual intensive treatment program at Renascent; expanding appropriate supports for vulnerable and/or racialized populations; and expanding peer support services.

“With a steady rise in addiction and overdose rates in Ontario and across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking real action to ensure all Ontarians have access to highest-quality addiction supports that meet their unique needs,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Through Roadmap to Wellness, our government will continue making historic investments to help create a system where all Ontarians, including those struggling with addiction, can get the support they need.”

As part of Roadmap to Wellness, the 2021 Budget committed $175 million in 2021-22 to expand and enhance mental health and addictions services, an increase of $525 million in annualized funding since 2019-20. This includes expanding services for children and youth, justice-related services, mobile crisis teams, supportive housing and programs supporting at-risk populations.


Quick Facts

  • Under Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario has announced an increase of $525 million in annualized funding for mental health and addictions support since 2019-20. This includes $175 million for more mental health and addictions services and supports in 2021-2022 committed through the 2021 Budget, $176 million invested in October 2020 and new funding of $174 million invested in 2019-20.
  • In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the province has invested up to $194 million in one-time emergency funding for mental health and addictions services, including virtual supports which have been accessed by more than 83,000 Ontarians.
  • Ontario is also investing $23.6 million to support internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which has been accessed by over 43,000 Ontarians since the province launched this program during the COVID-19 pandemic, including over 8,100 health care workers.
  • 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, such as counselors and therapists, can also register their patients for this service to complement their addiction treatment program.
  • 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.

Quotes

"Our office investigates every single substance related death, each a person who was loved by family and friends. This tragic information has been vital to design this evidence-informed funding strategy to reduce further deaths and assist those who are struggling."

- Dr. Dirk Huyer
Chief Coroner for Ontario

"I lost Pete, my 25-year-old son with concurrent disorders, to an accidental opioid overdose twenty years ago. Sadly, I have seen the staggering escalation of opioid deaths, and other devastating consequences and collateral damage, since my son’s death. A 20-year trajectory people being trapped in cycles, and the continued condemnation of people who are genuinely unwell but not having their needs met. This funding, and specifically the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network opioid proposal is where healthcare intersects with the broader determinants of health and what people need to find their wellness (whatever that looks like for each and every person). Life saving and life sustaining must be the priority. People need opportunities to survive long enough to find their way to recovery. Every person deserves healthcare options along the full continuum of care."

- Betty-Lou Kristy
Chair, Minister’s Patient and Family Advisory Council

"COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on what was already an escalating overdoses crisis in Ontario and the demand for access to harm reduction and treatment services continues to increase. It is critical that when a person does reach out for help, that high quality support is available without a waitlist. The investments announced today will contribute towards the goal of ensuring that services and supports are available to Ontarians when they need it most."

- Adrienne Spafford
CEO, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario

"Pine River Institute welcomes this investment from the Ontario Government. It more than doubles the number of youth and families supported by the Province in our program. Pine River has consistently had a waitlist that far exceeds our capacity. The pandemic has shone a light on the growth of addiction and mental health concerns, generally and with youth in particular. And we know that the post-pandemic world will likely see even more adolescents struggling with these issues. This investment could not be more timely."

- Vaughan Dowie
CEO, Pine River Institute

"With escalating rates of substance use and addiction across our communities, it is critical that we are ramping up the system’s treatment capacity and looking at innovative approaches. The government’s investment of $1.25 million in Renascent’s Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program, adds urgently needed intensive outpatient treatment for Ontarians with substance use disorders, using a promising new virtual model. In partnership with Ontario Shores Research Team, the program will undergo formal program evaluation to assess outcomes and potential for expansion of this model in the future."

- Laura Bhoi
CEO, Renascent

"The local demand for withdrawal management services has grown far beyond our capacity at Bluewater Health. This annualized funding, that until now we were not guaranteed, confirms our ongoing ability to respond to accelerating needs of our community. Each day, we are told that our services have changed lives and instilled hope in individuals and their families who we have worked with; and we will only be successful in meeting these expectations with this type of support from the Ministry of Health."

- Paula Reaume-Zimmer
Integrated Vice President, Mental Health & Addictions Services, Bluewater Health and CMHA Lambton Kent, CEO Lambton Elderly Outreach

"Working with community health centres and other partners, hospitals in Toronto will use this funding to improve access to evidence-based care for people with substance use disorders. With 521 confirmed opioid overdose deaths in Toronto in 2020 – a sharp increase even compared to the record number of deaths before the pandemic – this funding is urgently needed to provide life-saving supports. We all need to work together to turn the overdose crisis around."

- Dr. Tim Rutledge
President and CEO of Unity Health Toronto and member of the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) CEO Committee


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