Canada's NDP issued the following press release on February 9, 2023:
NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction Critic Gord Johns made the following statement on the Liberals' new health care agreement with the provinces and territories, and its exclusion of urgently needed mental health funding:
“After doing everything right and isolating during a global pandemic, Canadians are now dealing with a cost-of-living crisis exacerbating stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. But when people reach out for help, they’re met with either wait lists that are months long or high costs that put help out of reach.
Mental health care is health care. No one should have to decide between filling their fridge or getting the quality health care they need. But unfortunately, Canadians are having to make tough choices. That’s why people were expecting Justin Trudeau to include real mental health supports in his government’s new health care agreement with the provinces and territories – but Canadians have yet again been disappointed by the Liberals.
There’s still no funding in sight for their promised Canada Mental Health Transfer and with the new health care plan, no specific or measurable funds have been given for community mental health and substance use treatment. People's lives are on the line – and they shouldn’t have to rely on our overcrowded emergency rooms as a primary resource for help. With 35 per cent of Canadians experiencing severe mental health issues it’s unconscionable to hold back on health funding.
The government needs to be doing everything possible to reduce barriers people face when they reach out for help. New Democrats are urging the Liberals to stop delaying and increase mental health spending to expand access to care, reduce strain on emergency rooms, reduce the high costs of services for patients, and put supports in place to fight Canada’s toxic drug crisis. We will keep fighting to make sure people suffering from mental health issues and substance use disorders can get the support they need without fear of the costs.”