Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli welcomed Ontario PC Deputy Leader and Health Critic Christine Elliott to North Bay today to meet with local health stakeholders and discuss their latest Paths to Prosperity white paper which will be released Thursday.
Elliott and Fedeli travelled the riding meeting with local health care providers in a series of meetings, including a sit-down at North Bay Regional Health Centre with President and CEO Paul Heinrich.
The visit comes just a day before Thursday’s launch of Paths to Prosperity: A Healthier Ontario, which calls for, among other things, a more accessible and coordinated mental health and addictions system.
“It’s my pleasure to host Christine here today and help provide her with a better picture of the unique health care needs in Northern Ontario, and specifically here in Nipissing,” said Fedeli.
Ontario must confront the human and economic toll of mental illness and addictions, and take down barriers to compassionate and effective treatment, Elliott said.
“Mental health is as important as physical health. It’s time we treated it that way,” said Elliott.
Elliott noted findings from a 2010 Select Committee report that under the Liberals, mental health care services are scattered over 10 ministries, 440 children’s mental health agencies, 330 community agencies, 150 addiction agencies and 50 problem gambling centres.
“No one has responsibility for coordinating services or measuring results,” Elliott said. “We propose integrating mental health and addictions treatment into a coherent, province-wide plan.”
A Healthier Ontario would recognize children’s mental health as part of the health care system, whereas today it falls under the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
It also addresses the need for improved access to home care, an issue which hits home here in Nipissing, Fedeli added.
“The Ontario PC party will continue to propose bold ideas to tackle the most difficult challenges we face in the midst of Ontario’s jobs and debt crisis,” said Fedeli.