Ottawa, ON – December 20, 2016 – The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) is deeply disappointed that consensus could not be reached by the federal, and provincial and territorial governments on the next health accord despite the additional offer of dedicated funds for mental health.
After initial setbacks, the federal government added $11 billion over ten years for mental health and home care to their health accord negotiations, two areas that the provinces and territories had identified as particularly important.
“We are disheartened that the governments couldn’t come to a swift agreement, and can only hope that the federal government continues to offer this dedicated funding for mental health throughout future conversations” stated CASW President Jan Christianson-Wood, “the longer these discussions take, the longer Canadians suffer without funding.”
Yesterday’s Health Accord talks came on the heels of the federal government’s introduction of Bill C-37 – legislation to facilitate new safe injection sites – arguably partially in response to Canada’s horrific opioid crisis. While overdose deaths may be at the forefront of the public’s mind, there are myriad other mental health issues facing Canadians.
“Undoubtedly, we need to act now to help address addiction,” added Christianson-Wood, “but there are other crises facing Canadians, too: veterans are struggling with PTSD, suicides in indigenous and northern communities continue to mount, and Canada’s ageing population require more mental health supports than before. This dedicated funding could have gone a very long way in saving lives.”
CASW implores the federal, and provincial and territorial governments to come to a swift conclusion of their Health Accord negotiations, and looks forward to an agreement that provides earmarked funding for mental health. “With long-term, dedicated dollars, we can end Canada’s mental health crises, but people are suffering everyday as we wait for the inter-governmental disagreements to end,” concluded Christianson-Wood.
For more information contact:
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW