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Results: 1 - 15 of 167
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am pleased to be here today to talk about a number of investments requested in the 2022-2023 supplementary estimates (B).
I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are meeting on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin people, who have been the stewards of this land and water since time immemorial.
I am pleased to be here, of course, with my colleague, Minister Duclos, and our colleagues from Health Canada, from the Public Health Agency and from CIHR.
While COVID‑19 has increased the number of people experiencing mental health problems, it has also made many of us more willing to talk about our own mental health.
We hope that this begins to reduce the stigma that remains a significant barrier to seeking care.
Since 2015, we have made historic investments to support mental health and to deal with problematic substance use, including the $5 billion to the provinces and territories to increase the availability of mental health care; $598 million for a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy for indigenous peoples; $270 million for the Wellness Together portal; $45 million to develop some national standards on the priorities I articulated by the provinces and territories; $350 million in the substance use and addictions program since 2020; and many other targeted investments on substance use and mental health promotion innovation.
The $5-billion investment through provincial and territorial bilateral agreements is currently providing $600 million of additional annual funding until 2027.
I am also pleased to say that the online portal, Wellness Together Canada, and its companion pocket app, PocketWell, which have specific funding included in the supplementary estimates (B), have assisted Canadians in getting the help they need both directly and as a stepping stone to receiving advice or finding more specialized care.
We know, sadly, that when so many Canadians need support, that support is still all too often out of reach. There is much more that needs to be done. Among other further actions, we will continue to engage with provinces, territories and stakeholders to invest additional funding through a mental health transfer.
The Standards Council of Canada, together with our provincial and territorial partners, is also developing national standards for evidence-based mental health and addiction services on the six priority areas identified with our provincial and territorial colleagues.
We are particularly encouraged by the incredible early progress of national standards for integrated youth services.
We welcome the CRTC's decision to approve the new 988 three-digit suicide prevention line, and we are working to ensure it has the capacity for a very successful launch next fall.
We want people to know that if they are struggling with thoughts of suicide, or know someone who is, help is available right now at 1-833-456-4566.
The toxic drug and overdose crisis continues to take a tragic toll on families, loved ones and communities. Our government will use every tool at its disposal to work with its partners to end this national public health crisis. Since 2017, we have committed more than $800 million to address the overdose crisis. We are taking concrete steps to divert people who use drugs away from the criminal justice system. This is a public health issue.
Approving B.C.'s decriminalization proposal for personal possession of small amounts of certain substances was an important step. So far, we have also supported 27 projects supporting a safer supply of drugs.
We must demonstrate to Canadians that we share their concerns and have been listening to those with lived and living experiences, the experts, and those on the front lines, to put in place evidence-based actions to address the parallel pandemics of mental health and the tragic ongoing toxic drug and overdose crisis.
I look forward to exploring this topic further by answering your thoughtful questions.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yesterday we had a very exciting announcement. We were able to demonstrate that all 13 jurisdictions have come together to understand that this model of integrated youth services that was led by the Foundry in British Columbia, the hubs here in Ontario as well as Aire Ouverte in Quebec....
The idea that you can get the most appropriate care by the most appropriate person at the most appropriate place and at the most appropriate time means that, all of a sudden, things such as peer support.... Those with lived and living experiences are able to make it feel safer for young people to come. They get primary care. They get a social worker, a psychologist or an addiction medicine person helping with their education, getting a job and housing, all in one place, with an integrated record.
The exciting thing is that yesterday we were able to announce that the CAMH and CIHR will not only be working on these evidence-based models but also creating the evidence as we go to be able to demonstrate what works and what doesn't. I think this is a huge leap forward in how we actually deliver integrated services to Canadians instead of this patchwork quilt of non-systems that was a huge challenge to youth in the past.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
It is heartbreaking. We are very grateful for your leadership on this. The debate that you and MP Hanley had earlier this year was hugely important in having all members of Parliament share that this isn't a “they” problem anymore. This is a “we” problem. We all know way too many people affected by this crisis.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think the $116 million in last year's budget and another $100 million in this year's budget.... I mean, last week I was able to announce another 24 projects. We are signing these agreements as quickly as we can.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
In the spring, with the Prime Minister, we were actually able to renew a number of these. We are working quickly on this. We are working with our partners to make sure that the innovation is taking place and that the kinds of substance use and addiction programs can be scaled and—
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
We have the money getting out the door on the $116 million, we have the other $100 million, and we will get whatever more money we need.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for the question.
I think what we are hearing is that having designated funds for mental health and substance use has really been important. It has been important from 2017, with the $5 billion that was there, and the provinces and territories are now getting an ongoing $600 million a year to 2027.
Now we're working with the provinces and territories on their six priorities so that we can develop the kinds of programs on integrated youth services, on additional—
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
—mental health and primary care, on all kinds of things that will involve lateral agreements, but also the data return, so that we know that—
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
We now have the $5 billion allocated since 2017. It will continue until 2027, and $600 million a year is going now annually. We are working with the provinces and territories on the design of a program that will—
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
The Province of Alberta is getting its share of the $600 million this year.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Right now in Alberta, for this year of 2021-22, Alberta is getting $69.81 million—
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
—of additional money because of the bilateral agreements.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's a great question, because that's exactly what we're doing by building up the integrated youth services. Those kids don't go to emergency anymore. When we look at decrim, when we look at SUAP, that program, we're going to watch the paramedic response, the visits to emergency, the hospitalizations...we are already seeing those changes. Building up a system so that people don't have to go to emergency is exactly what we're doing coast to coast to coast.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think you know the answer, Dr. Hanley. This has to be evidence-based.
I think we have suffered through 10 years of an ideological approach that took one of the four pillars that you just mentioned of international drug policy—prevention, harm reduction, treatment and enforcement—and took out that harm reduction pillar. Now we have to build it back up in the way that you just said. Get the naloxone out onto the streets. Be able to understand that harm reduction includes these things that are four years old—methadone, Suboxone and Sublocade—but also all other safe supply.
As you know, we've reversed 42,000 overdoses in the safe consumption sites.
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