2018 Budget Boosts Access to Health Care for Hamilton Families
Ontario Making Historic Investment in Mental Health
Ontario is ensuring that people in Hamilton can access the care they need closer to home with historic new health care investments in mental health and addictions, home and community care, and other programs to help people support their loved ones.
Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was joined by Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, at Indwell Community Housing's Strathearne Suites supportive housing building to talk about how the province is strengthening health care in the community. Ontario is providing support for a 57-bed mental health and addictions supportive housing program at Indwell's Parkdale Landing property, which will help residents to thrive through a team that includes housing and peer support workers, an occupational therapist and an addictions counsellor.
Ontario is transforming the mental health and addictions system to deliver more accessible and better integrated care, with a historic new investment of $2.1 billion that will make it easier to access services through a local school, family doctor's office or community-based organization. In Hamilton, this will mean:
- More new mental health workers that will provide publically funded structured psychotherapy in Hamilton, with up to 350,000 more people with mild to moderate anxiety or depression being supported across the province.
- Every secondary school in Hamilton will have access to an additional mental health worker, with about 400 new positions being added across Ontario.
- More young people in Hamilton will be able to access community-based services such as therapy and counselling.
- 60 more supportive housing units in the Hamilton region since 2017, building on the over 13,000 units being created across Ontario.
- Access to withdrawal management and residential and community treatment services will be expanded in Hamilton, for young people and adults living with addictions.
Ontario's 2018 Budget includes other important health care investments for Hamilton, such as:
- Making prescriptions free for people 65 and over through an expansion of OHIP+. Starting August 1, 2019, more than 95,000 seniors in Hamilton will no longer have to pay a deductible or co-payment for prescription medications. The province is already providing free prescriptions for everyone under 25, and with this expansion nearly one in two people in Ontario will have access to OHIP+.
- A new Ontario Drug and Dental program for individuals and their families who do not have coverage from an extended health plan will reimburse up to $400 per single person, $600 per couple and $700 for a family of four with two children for eligible prescription drug and dental expenses, starting Summer 2019.
- Reducing hospital wait times by addressing capacity issues and providing better care closer to home through the biggest investment in hospitals in almost a decade. With this funding boost, hospitals in the Hamilton area will be able to better invest in the care and supports needed by patients and the community.
- An estimated 238,000 more hours of personal support, 24,000 more nursing visits and 5,000 more therapy visits for people in Hamilton as part of a major new investment in home and community care across the province.
Ontario's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Ontario is also investing up to $661,000 annually to support Indwell Community Housing’s Parkdale Landing 57-unit mental health and addictions supportive housing program.
- Ontario’s health care budget will total $61.3 billion in 2018-19 — a five per cent increase from the previous year.
- One in three people in Ontario over the age of 15 experience mental health or addictions challenges in their lifetime.
- The 2018 Budget includes proposed investments of $575 million per year by 2020-21 to expand OHIP+ to seniors by eliminating the annual deductible and co-payment under the Ontario Drug Benefit program; an additional $822 million in 2018-19 for hospital operating funding; and an additional $650 million over the next three years to improve home and community care services.
“Our government’s historic investment in mental health and addictions takes a comprehensive approach, ensuring people in Ontario are supported across their lifespan, no matter what their needs may be. This investment and clear strategy demonstrates our government’s commitment to the mental wellness of people in Ontario, recognizing that physical and mental wellness must go hand-in-hand for people to live their best lives.”
“Every time I sit down with my Post-Secondary Advisory Group we hear about the challenges of student mental health and the need for more accessible counselling services. The government has responded. These investments in mental health will make an incredible difference.”
“We’re thrilled that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care sees investment in affordable housing as a pillar of mental and physical health and wellbeing. We’ve already seen transformation of lives here at Strathearne Suites in East Hamilton. We value our partnerships with St Joseph’s Healthcare and the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN, and look forward to partnering together to extend homes this fall to 57 more people at Parkdale Landing.”
“We know there is a growing demand for mental health and addictions services in Hamilton and across our LHIN as well as an increasing need for supportive housing. These substantial investments, including the support to Indwell, will make a difference for people with mental health and addictions concerns by enhancing access to housing and timely, integrated care in community settings.”
Janine van de Heuvel