THUNDER BAY — During question period Tuesday, Judith Monteith-Farrell, NDP MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, challenged Doug Ford to act now to improve mental health services for children and youth in Thunder Bay and across Ontario.
Children’s Mental Health Ontario recently released a report showing that there are twice as many children and youth waiting to access mental health services across the province as there were two years ago, with the wait list ballooning to 28,000. In Thunder Bay, there were 151 children and youth waiting to access counselling or treatment at the Thunder Bay Children’s Centre at the beginning of the year, and they faced an average wait time of six months.
The Ford government has failed to deliver on a promise to match federal funding for mental health and addictions in Ontario, which amounted to $174 million this year, and will rise to $232 million next year.
“There is a crisis in children and youth mental health and addictions care in Ontario,” Monteith-Farrell said. “The last Liberal government let families down, and things have gone from bad to worse across Ontario. Yet Doug Ford is still planning to cut $69 million more from children and youth mental health services. When will this government make much-needed new investments in children and youth?”
The Ford Conservatives have stalled an NDP bill that would cap wait times for children and youth mental health services at 30 days (Bill 63).
“Premier, no child should have to wait months or years for treatment. The government should pass Bill 63 now and ensure that children and youth in this province get the treatment and care they desperately need.”
Watch video here: https://www.facebook.com/JudithNDP/videos/494808041161831/