Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling for a national mental health summit.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Tory said it’s time that the country’s mayors, premiers, ministers and the prime minister sit down “to discuss how we can better coordinate across governments to support Canadians living with mental health and substance addiction challenges.”
“We are facing a mental health crisis across Canada and we are seeing the effects of it here in Toronto every day,” he noted.
“Mental health care is health care – and it should be treated as such and funded like the rest of our health care system by the provincial and federal governments working together,” he said.
Tory pointed out that “the lack of spending on mental health – particularly as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic – is painfully clear on the streets of municipalities across the country.
“When people are suffering and unable to receive adequate support, frequently they are left on our streets, on our transit systems, and in our emergency rooms to fend for themselves.
“When the federal and provincial governments don’t fully and adequately fund mental health care, the responsibility is offloaded to ill-equipped municipalities across Canada which are without the financial resources to address this crisis – it is offloaded to our shelters, to our police services, to our transit systems, and to hospital emergency departments.
“In recent years we’ve seen governments of Ontario and Canada recognize this by creating Ministers of Mental Health and Addictions in Minister Michael Tibollo provincially, and Minister Carolyn Bennett federally–a much-needed and welcome move from both governments. Now it’s time for us all to walk the walk together.”